Impact of PREA: Advocates Pushing For Implementation, Reform, and Transparency
As we wrap up our PREA "There's No Excuse" Week of Action, we wanted to highlight efforts across the country and give everyone one more chance to support PREA implementation this week.
In a move antithetical to the mission of Connecticut Department of Children and Family (DCF), the agency sent a transgender 16-year-old girl, Jane Doe, who is not charged with any crime to an adult prison. DCF said it took the extremely rare action of pressing for a transfer to an adult prison because of the youth's history of assaulting staff members at juvenile facilities. It is the first time in 14 years that the statute has been used, and the first in more than 20 years that the youth in question was a ward of DCF. The agency deals with dozens of assaultive youths, including those who have been arrested multiple times in a matter of days for assaults against staff at the training school.
This is unacceptable and threatens to move the dial backwards on Connecticut reforms. Connecticut went from a juvenile justice system that was unsafe, neglectful, harsh, unconstitutional and overly punitive to juvenile offenders, to one of the best in the nation in treatment-oriented, humane, and cost effective practices. Now, these impactful reforms are in danger.
Just last week, Gov. Malloy made a statement last week calling for Jane's removal from the adult women's prison as soon as possible. Another week has passed since he made that statement and Jane is still at the women's prison. She was moved to a stand-alone "cottage" but, as a youth in an adult prison is, by default, in solitary confinement. And don't let the term "cottage" fool you.
Read Jane Doe's own words here.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
@GovMalloyOffice Days or weeks, not months. One week down. Please help now. #TransferJaneDoe #RethinkMalloy
@GovMalloyOffice You must continue to intercede. #TransferJaneDoe #RethinkMalloy
@GovMalloyOffice #TransferJaneDoe Another week in prison for an abused child. #RethinkMalloy
@GovMalloyOffice Days or weeks, not months. What is the plan? #TransferJaneDoe #RethinkMalloy
@GovMalloyOffice Who is working on a plan to #TransferJaneDoe ? #RethinkMalloy
@GovMalloyOffice #TransferJaneDoe She’s a child, not a criminal. #RethinkMalloy
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina, which has been conducting a survey of North Carolina Sheriffs Offices today released a report showing that not a single county in North Carolina is in full compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The report came out on May 14th, the day before Gov. Pat McCrory is required to certify the state’s compliance with PREA or risk losing some federal funding dedicated to criminal justice programming. The report is available on the ACLU-NC website.
The ACLU-NC has consolidated the responses from 58 counties to a public records request regarding compliance with PREA and the treatment of 16 and 17-year-olds in adult facilities. The report reflects that not a single county is in full compliance with PREA, while only nine (9) counties are working towards compliance. Ultimately, the report finds that even well-meaning Sheriffs’ Offices that wish to protect youth by implementing appropriate policies may find it difficult or expensive to comply and concludes that North Carolina must act to remove juveniles from adult correctional facilities.
For more information about PREA, visit us at: www.cfyj.org/preac
And follow the conversation online: #ImplementPREA
If you have not had a chance to sign our petition calling on Governors to remove youth from adult facilities, please click here now. Help us reach 500 signatures!