The Criminalization of Youth / Social Issues
Amnesty International Report:
Children Abused in US Prisons
 from staff reports

Amnesty International condemned the United States for mistreatment of children in prison and the nation's determination to execute young people convicted of capital crimes.  Thousands of children in US prisons are victims of human rights violations and 70 prisoners are waiting to be put to death in the United States for crimes committed when they were minors, the organization reported on November 17.

There have already been nine people killed in the United States since 1990 for crimes committed when they were children.  That's the same number as the total number executed under that standard in the rest of the world combined ( Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are the other countries which have the death penalty for crimes committed by children).

Amnesty accused US prisons of physical brutality to minors, locking children in solitary confinement, and keeping young people incarcerated for long periods while they wait for trial.

"Over four thousand children are in adult prisons where they are notoriously at risk of physical and sexual abuse," said Amnesty.  "Excessive use of incarceration is a matter of grave concern because of its inherent risks to the physical and mental integrity of children and its potential for negative influence rather than rehabilitation."

Children are often imprisoned for trivial reasons, according to the human rights organization.  Amnesty quoted the cases of a 13-year-old girl imprisoned for suspected possession of marijuana, which turned out to he oregano, a 16-year-old girl who was sent to prison for refusing to attend school and a boy of 12 arrested after harassing someone by telephone.

From the NAMBLA Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 3, Pgs. 7 - 8,  1999.
Copyright ©  NAMBLA, 2008.

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