This morning, Mie Lewis, a staff attorney for the Women’s Right Project, guest blogged on Grits for Breakfast, an Austin-based political blog that focuses on the Texas criminal justice system. Mie’s been interviewing girls in the custody of the Texas Youth Commission for the past two weeks, and shares some of the girls’ stories, as well as some of her own observations.
I’ve visited juvenile facilities in a few different states, and what struck me about TYC’s state schools is how much they look and feel like junior prisons designed to produce junior prisoners. That goes against TYC’s legal duty to prepare delinquent kids for “reestablishment in society,” and anyone knowledgeable in juvenile justice will tell you that the adult corrections model doesn’t work for kids. Huge facilities, prison rules, and the 16-hour schedule also cause other problems, like pitting kids and staff against each other by keeping everyone worn down and on edge.
Read the full entry on Grits for Breakfast. You can also read the full report, A Blueprint for Meeting the Needs of Girls in TYC Custody.