It’s pretty difficult to imagine the circumstances of why a child, someone with less than two decades of life experience, would be sent to endure the adult prison system. There are certainly situations that would warrant it: murder, assault, extreme violence etc. etc.
But for giving “a look” to a police officer?
The Huffington Post recently launched an investigation into the treatment of children who are incarcerated in adult prisons, which is where reporter Dana Liebelson stumbled upon “Jamie”.
Jamie arrived in the criminal justice system after having some kind of altercation with a family friend (where apparently, nobody seems to have been hurt). She was given two six-month sentences, and for some reason, sent to an adult prison to serve that time. The original deal would allow her to emerge from jail with a completely clean criminal record, but prison officials say that the deal was revoked and the internment extended because of bad behavior. What did that bad behavior consist of? According to an open records request:
- Yelling at a fellow prisoner who slapped her on the back of the head.
- Giving a guard an “intimidating look” after “defying an order”.
Jamie is currently behind held in the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, which houses criminals convicted of murder and drug possession. While most kids who commit crimes similar to Jamie are sentenced to community service, the judge on Jamie’s case told her that prison would be like “going away to college” and a great “opportunity”.
What the actual f*ck?
Being a teenager is a time of growing and learning. I don’t think anyone reading this article didn’t have a few screw-ups as a teen. And yes, actions have consequences, and yes, teens have to own those consequences, but was adult prison really the right spot for this girl in the first place??
She should have been doing community service, or at the very most, be interned in a juvenile facility that can actually cater to her specific needs. Throwing her in prison, and then revoking her youthful status because she did something…youthful (being sassy) in a foreign place she shouldn’t be in, seems to be a rather — dare I say it — juvenile train of thought.
Our criminal justice system is so incredibly broken in the United States, and this is just one of many examples of that.