Juvenile lifers targeted for rape, excessive isolation in adult prisons

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Juveniles doing time in adult prisons, surrounded by older and stronger criminals, rarely fare well. But juveniles serving sentences of life without parole in the United States face particularly daunting prospects of sexual assault, neglect and long periods of solitary confinement, according to a grim new report from Human Rights Watch.

There are approximately 2,750 offenders in prison in 38 states who were under the age of eighteen when sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) -- most of them for first-degree murder. Human Rights Watch considers the practice to be illegal under international law, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to address the constitutionality of such sentencing schemes in March. This latest study of the issue is the result of six years of research and interviews with 500 lifers sentenced when they were juveniles, including many of the 48 juvie LWOP cases in Colorado.

The organization found that nearly every LWOP offender interviewed reported instances of physical violence or sexual abuse by other inmates or corrections officers not long after their arrival in the system. One Colorado subject, identified only by a pseudonym, told the researchers: "Everyone seemed big and dangerous and threatening. I was challenged and intimidated a lot. Canines [sexual predators] stalked me, and at all times I expected to be attacked."

Because they're not eligible for parole, the LWOP group often receives fewer opportunities for education, training and other rehabilitation programs. They're also far more likely to spend extended stretches in solitary confinement, the report states; officials say they put the youthful offenders in lockdown either for their own protection from predatory older inmates or because they're more likely to "act out," having less to lose than other inmates for bad-ass behavior.

Not surprisingly, the report adds, "Youth offenders commonly reported having thoughts of suicide, feelings of intense loneliness or depression. Isolation was frequently compounded by solitary confinement." Since 2006 at least three lifers sentenced as juveniles have committed suicide.

The report includes a series of recommendations by Human Rights Watch.

View the full 53-page report on the next page.


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47 comments
Mebcaux
Mebcaux

One cannot help wondering about the degree to which Sheriff Sullivan may have exploited the fear by young prisoners of such abuse as a means of coercing sexual favors from them.

shaughnessyspeirs
shaughnessyspeirs

My mother-in-law is a juvenile public defender. You'd be pretty appalled at some of the cases she has to deal with, some of the kids that get put away for life on circumstantial, shaky, or dreadfully little evidence. Frankly, this story doesn't surprise me at all--because these kids are moving from one universe where no one gives a fuck about them right into another.

PatrickH
PatrickH

I'm pro death penalty and also support life without for those under 18 that commit heinous murders. But NOBODY should risk being raped in prison. Once in prison they are under the government's authority and protection. They should not be subjected to assault or rape at the hands of other inmates nor should we wink and look away as if it's an acceptable part of their punishment. It's a national disgrace.

So fix that and leave these deviants locked away from the rest of us for good.

Meggyowens4
Meggyowens4

 I have the same chance  of getting raped,  being a law abiding citizen as they do. Period. Rape happens. And the the rapers just go on their way. Poor them. Been there, done that. Doesn't mean I have to kill someone because someone raped, robbed, nearly killed me. I know. I don't go out and rob, kill, rape, just because it happened to me. Put the bastards to sleep, like a stray cat. Its humane, and it won't cost us much.

Meggyowens4
Meggyowens4

Carl Panzram....Give that guy a break, right?? He was a "child" when she started what he did. NOT! look him up dummies. Once a crazy jerk always a crazy jerk.

Libraeffect
Libraeffect

i dont feel sorry for them bcuz they did an adult crime now they must face the music .....oh well this should be lesson to young folks who want to commit murder.....

TEMPERAMENTAL
TEMPERAMENTAL

It's very difficult for me to feel remorse for someone who has committed first degree murder, no matter how old they are.  Don't most criminals get raped or become a rapist when they are in prison?  So what is being said here is that a 16 year old who kills someone should be given a break? A shorter sentence?  Should not be put in a real prison, with real criminals? You committed a real crime!  You didn't think about someone harming you, did you!? Maybe they thought they were billy bad-ass, until they met billy bad-ass!   I think they deserve a taste of reality! And when they come crying to the warden like a little b*tch, then they can be moved to some place less hazardous.  Someone kills my loved one, I wouldn't give a damn what happens to them in prison. I bet those "juveniles" wont do what they did again! That's for damn sure.  I don't understand a criminal's mentality.  You cant do something to someone and think nothing can happen to you!

Gryphon50a
Gryphon50a

there is this fantasy that only vicious murderers, rapists and child molesters are raped in prison, and that's not so. If you get in for drug charges, you are still going to be preyed upon. Also, notice the one guy in this story who committed murder as a juvenile but he killed his abusive father. I don't think he deserves to be raped for committing that crime...it's not all black and white.

kimbev69
kimbev69

Seriously who cares? If u dont wanna be a lifer than dont kill anyone

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

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udoobu
udoobu

No one cares about your fresh mozzarella story... gtfo.

Nick Werle
Nick Werle

there is no such thing as Free will-  your actions are predetermined by atomic particles! so putting these juvies in for life is cruel punishment, but it is not unusual

Techmaker
Techmaker

Most of the rules and regulations should be modified to protect the rights of prisoners. 

Generic Name
Generic Name

Good. Let them get their asses pounded in prison. Serves them right for committing murder.

Farfigknugen Steve Nicholson
Farfigknugen Steve Nicholson

good thing we have 25% of the worlds prison population,, you know so the young pot dealers serving time and getting raped can find like minded individuals who probably had similar experiences as kids and develop those long term life changing BFFs so as to better society when they get out of prison.  even though it costs 30,000-40,000 a year just to incarcerate them youngins.  they're really aren't any therapy/counseling options for them poor losers outside of prison so it is well worth it for society.  you know kind of like the mentally unstable people.  way better to treat their ailments in prison.  after all rape, isolation, and physical and emotional abuse works best to resolve issues.  just look at how we delt with them undesirables bake in the 17-1900s.   :D

Anonymous Psycopath
Anonymous Psycopath

Do young pot dealers get sentenced to life in prison? I think the fact that young (or any age) pot dealers are in prison with dangerous criminals IS tragic, but its also another subject altogether. As far as I know, in the USA you don't get thrown in prison for LIFE for jaywalking, parking tickets, or selling somebody a dime bag. Maybe Texas?

ben
ben

This is this best PSA ad I ever read. If more "gangbangers" read this I bet they'd think twice before squeezing the trigger. I truly feel bad for them but I feel worst for the victims, and family of the victims they most likely killed to end up in prison for life face down ass up. But cheer up guys a few years in if you keep hitting the weights you'll be the ones dishing out the ass poundings...after the rain come the rainbows!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This just in: Prison is an unpleasant place to be...**GASP** Who would have thought???Young violent predators being preyed on by older predators... cry me a river... maybe we should spare them all that pain and suffering and just execute them. Problem solved. The merciless are not worthy of being shown mercy. Like they showed their victims? This isn't tragic, its KARMA.

Nick Werle
Nick Werle

you are a moron and anonymous coward

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, Anonymous -- one that we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You are a psychopath, and you have company.

Meggyowens4
Meggyowens4

You are an idiot...and you have company.

Shining
Shining

"they're more likely to "act out," having less to lose than other inmates for bad-ass behavior."

What's bad-ass behavior look like in jail?

Кабель HDMI
Кабель HDMI

  Wow. It sounds tough being in jail for life without parole - you know, the sentence these people were given for committing murder to a level that warrants them being tried as an adult.

I'm not saying they should be treated this way. I'm just saying, when you are thrown into a cage with other like animals, you open yourself up to that kind of additional risk. I'm not encouraging mistreatment, but I expect some would occur outside the control of those in charge. Perhaps if they weren't animals that caused harm to others, they wouldn't be grouped with other animals that might cause harm to them?

Nick Werle
Nick Werle

and what made them animals?  same that made  you a freaking retard?

Rhonna
Rhonna

UUhh..what made them animals? Maybe the killing...the raping....etc.

Nigger
Nigger

are you a stupid fuck? they killed someone and ill kill u if u dont shut your fucking hole nigger!

Manny Options
Manny Options

Nick, here is a question for you. If one or two of these so-called misguided animals killed one or two of your family members or went on a killing spree just for "kicks or gang jump-in or even just because" and only gets a slap on the wrist and told "don't do that again" and released, I would guess that would be ok with you?

Think about that before you start calling someone a freaking retard.

Mike
Mike

This is a tough one because they are lifers the system has already written them off as useless humans, are they first timers in the lockup system though?I have always believed we should have a 2 tier prison system.  Tier one looks more like colleges with electric fences, safe places with all sorts of programs, education opportunities, rehabilitation programs etc.  Real money thrown at turning lives around.  and moving the offenders a minimum of 1,000 miles from where the crime was committed to cut down on internal gangs.Tier 2 or second time to prison consists of bricks, bars, bread and water.  House them as cheaply as possible.  Anyone cut loose from these facilities will automatically have a GPS anklet for life.  And sense fellons loose many civil rights one of those would be the ability to be within 1000 feet of another GPS anklet.

TEMPERAMENTAL
TEMPERAMENTAL

That is a very interesting concept you have Mike.  It makes a great deal of sense, but you'd have to classify the crimes accordingly i.e., would rape and murder be Tier 2 or would rape be Tier 1 and murder Tier 2?  Furthermore I don't believe there is any real way to rehabilitate a sociopath.  I'm still bothered by the fact that many prisoners live better than some of us.  They have 3 meals a day, educative opportunities, regular exercise, and its all on our fucking dime!  They don't have to work, pay bills, nothing!  So who is really getting it up the ass? I digress.  My point is I like your ideas, but some human rights activist will have a problem with it because they care about these fuckers.

Frank
Frank

nice, except colleges charge a lot of money for an education.  If that was the case, you'd see more poeple doing petty crimes for an education.  Like the bum who robs a place just to go to jail and get 3 hots and a cot.

jonolan
jonolan

And so? What right-thinking American cares what happens to these failures. If they were worthy of our care they would be doing LWOP in the 1st place. It takes a hell of a lot for a minor to get that sentence.

Pepperspraaay
Pepperspraaay

I think this is why you should think before you move. Don't role the dice if you cant pay the price.http://www.robertaguirrewoodfl...

Anon
Anon

Your black and white type of mentality among apathetic fuckers like yourself is partially the blame for this.

TEMPERAMENTAL
TEMPERAMENTAL

We'll see how you feel if one of these idiots harmed someone you care about.  Would you be sympathetic then? 

udoobu
udoobu

Maybe the murderers can come stay at your lovely home and be treated like deserving humans.

hengdoo
hengdoo

Thats kinda crazy when you think about it dude.www.Total-Privacy dot US

Mikoe Wozz
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NJinFlag
NJinFlag

Although the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering this issue this year, most likely they will consider the very narrow issue of whether LWOP for juveniles involved in a homicide when they were 14 or younger is constitutional. This constitutes only 73 of the 2,750 offenders serving life sentences for a crime committed as a juvenile. http://www.askthejudge.info/is...

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

Another restaurant cliaimed to use freshmozz arella cheese,where it's dishes were actually made with economycheddar.the "fresh pasta"advertieshed on another meau tumed out to befrozen.--Agedate. ℃⊙M--a nice and free placefor younger women and older men,or older women and younger men,to interact witheach other. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Our criminal injustice system and those who administer it and pack it have long since become far more of a threat to our society than all its inmates.

theuglytruth
theuglytruth

You have to be a wealthy or upper middle class white person to think that the justice system is more dangerous than "all the inmates". I'm from the inner-city, the place you all avoid unless there is daylight, and most are more than happy when any of these knuckleheads are given life terms no matter the age.

shaughnessyspeirs
shaughnessyspeirs

It's the threat of too great power without any checks and balances on it. For proof, try googling any headline in the last few years that starts with "police." Frankly, I do stay away from high crime areas because they are dangerous. But police can go anywhere and do anything to anyone and ultimately face very few repercussions. What was the name of that guy at the Denver Zoo again? You know, that dude who was drinking from a water fountain, who got beat to death because they thought he had drugs? 

There's no denying that many of the people in prison are dangerous. But denying that the "justice system" isn't just as dangerous, even posing greater threat, is just a little blind.

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