The Department of Justice investigates the treatment of children with state custody. Governor Greg Abbott has ordered two state investigations into accusations of abuse.
Dallas — The US Department of Justice began an investigation on Wednesday to determine if there were “patterns or practices of child physical or sexual abuse” within the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Kristen Clark, Deputy Civil Rights Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, has important legitimacy to independently and thoroughly investigate the five state lockups that house boys accused of crimes. Said there is.
Clark quoted reports that staff “reportedly paid drugs and cash to children to assault other children.”
“There are also reports of staff sharing pornographic material with children,” she said.
At least 11 employees were arrested for sexually abusing their child-rearing children, Clark said.
Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas Rangers twice to investigate similar accusations.
In July, when he instructed the Public Security Bureau to investigate immediately, he quoted the allegation that “certain TJJD staff had potentially illegally acted with TJJD youth.”
DPS did not immediately respond to WFAA’s inquiry about where the investigation was.
In 2017, Abbott ordered DPS investigators to investigate reports of “sexual misconduct and improper relationships” between TJJD staff and detained children.
He called the claim “blameable.”
Less than two months after the investigation began, DPS announced that arrest warrants had been issued to five current and former TJJD staff.
The four were charged with official crackdowns for exerting excessive force on the boy caring for them.
The advocacy group Texas Appleseed and Disability Rights Texas sent a letter to the US Department of Justice in October 2020 requesting a federal civil rights investigation into TJJD.
Related: US Department of Justice investigating five Texas juvenile correctional facilities
They cited “recurring systematic problems” in five secure lockups in the states of Edinburg, Gainesville, Giddings, Mart, and Brownwood.
They submitted data showing a shortage of staff, an increasing number of cases where children hurt themselves, quotations from former teenage prisoners who claimed that “gangs operated the facility,” and children regularly others. Was giving a “blow” to the children of.
The Brownwood facility is under the jurisdiction of Deputy Federal Attorney at Chadmy Cham in northern Texas.
In a video conference call with Clark, Meacham said up to 140 girls were usually housed in Brownwood.
“I’m convinced that the majority of Texas juvenile prison officers are doing their best to their dead levels to be done correctly by these children,” he said.
“But if there are villains or systematic problems that violate the rights of young people, we are determined to eradicate them.”
Clark said federal investigations will focus not only on allegations of physical and sexual abuse, but also on the potential overuse of chemical restraints, quarantine, and lack of proper mental health services. rice field.
She said these facilities should focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Related: Two Gainesville youth lock-up guards arrested on suspicion of abuse
“Exposure to harmful conditions does not rehabilitate children, it only worsens the outcome of life,” Clark said.
Camille Cain, managing director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, said the state would cooperate with the federal investigation.
In a statement, Cain said, “We all share the same goals for young people in our care. Their safety, effective rehabilitation, and they lead a productive and fulfilling life. To provide the best opportunity for. “
A spokesperson for Governor Abbott also said the state would fully cooperate.
“While serving the Texas people, Governor Abbott has always prioritized the safety and well-being of all Texas children, including those who care for the state,” spokesman Renae said.・ Eze said.
DOJ Survey on Texas Juvenile Justice System
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