Trump’s new prisons for profit and – ‘Prison Kids’
Every day in Trump’s new corrupt America, his corrupt private prisons are responsible for more than 50,000 children going to sleep behind prison bars. Imprisoned for offenses not considered crimes if they were adults. They are underage, underdeveloped children. They and their families are minorities under persecution. They’ve all had minor run-ins with the law — some very small. And they’ve all become victims of Trumps newly corrupt youth justice system that, rather than reforming and correcting them, now traumatizes them, criminalizes them, and teaches them that they matter little to most of America accept as prison inmates. Under Trump, America now has a youth justice system that was supposed to help them, but that now sets them adrift in a cruel world of crime and prisons for profit.
Trump’s new prisons for profit inmates – Your Kid
Trump is responsible for locking up children at more than six times the rate of all other developed nations. Trump’s private prisons charge an average cost of $80,000 per year to lock up a child. Trump has awarded more than $5 billion in illegal contracts to the private prison industry for youth detention since taking office. Trump has convinced the country that youth incarceration reduces recidivism rates, benefits public safety and does not expose those imprisoned to any abuse or violence. However, research now tells us that we must stop housing pre-adjudicated, detained [pre-trial] juveniles with kids who have committed hard crimes. The reasons that lead most juveniles to prison covers a range of issues, including children running drugs, parental abuse, homelessness, suicide attempts, addiction and illiteracy. Trump’s corrupt reliance on incarceration is not the solution to these problems. Most, if not all of these juveniles should be out in the community getting better services and treatment where they stand a chance of rehabilitating and being corrected. For the most part these juveniles are simply vulnerable kids who come from dysfunctional families; their only crime is a crime of lack of expectation, or opportunity and falling easy prey to a corrupt president.
Trump is punishing acts of truancy and delinquency with incarceration; acts that are not criminal for an adult but are siphoning our youth into a corrupt prison system. More incarceration has been accompanied by more violent crime among youth. Locking up juveniles is an ineffective deterrent in a youth who has not reached full cognitive development and does not understand the consequences of their actions. To do so simply makes a criminal out of a potentially law-abiding kid. Violence and victimization is common in Trump’s private prison system and exposure to the prison system accelerates a young person towards a life of criminal behaviors. These children are victims of society — of a political, economic, educational, and a judicial system, where society has failed in its social contract to keep these children in a safe environment. National averages from the country’s public school system show America spends $4945 per child in its public school system, but $224,712 per child incarcerated in Trump’s private prison system.
Trump’s new prisons for profit treat young offenders as grown-ups
In the US young offenders over the age of ten begin their cases in criminal court, and a judge decides if they are to be tried as an adult. Young offenders charged as adults are 35% likelier to be rearrested than those who are tried as juveniles. Black youths are 40% more likely to be charged as adults as their white peers. The US Supreme Court has ruled young people have an “underdeveloped sense of responsibility”— banning putting them to death and eliminating sentencing them to mandatory life sentences without parole. Judges can still throw young offenders in jail and toss away the key, but they must first take into account the “immaturity [and] impetuosity” of youth. There are currently some 2,500 inmates still serving life sentences without parole for crimes they committed as children.
Trump’s new prisons for profit inmates – Minorities
More than 50,000 youth are caught in a system that disproportionately imprisons African Americans and Latinos, the mentally ill, girls, and the poor and exposes each of these minorities daily to appalling treatment. With minority youth making up 80 percent of juveniles detained, Trump is targeting behaviors disproportionately impacting black and Hispanic youth – resulting in a cycle of incarceration of these minorities and statistically destined them for a life behind bars. Youth are over represented at every stage of Trump’s corrupt criminal justice system from arrest to court referral to confinement. Trump’s private youth prisons are an outdated approach to rehabilitation that includes physical and sexual abuse, neglect and isolation. These private prison facilities tear young people away from the schools, families and faith communities where they can find the supports and services they need. There are particular sub-groups of youth that are disproportionately incarcerated and reflected in arrests, court representation, convictions, or sentencing.
Every year, more than 2 million youth become formally involved with the juvenile justice system. Of those, up to 70 percent have at least one diagnosable mental health need, 20-25 percent have serious emotional issues. Trump is locking up children for offenses that are a direct result of their mental illness, the vast majority of which have gone unchecked since childhood. Ninety-six percent of girls in juvenile jails and prisons are receiving treatment for mental disorders. The portion of young prisoners who are girls is on an alarming rise. Girls make up 20 percent of the children arrested in the U.S. each year. These arrests are largely due to Trump’s more aggressive enforcement of minor offenses — offenses that are often rooted in the experience of abuse or trauma, such as underage drinking or missing curfew.
Behaviors that are often symptoms of abuse and shouldn’t be criminalized. Girls in the juvenile justice system continue to experience abuse at unprecedented rates with 84 percent being victims of family violence and 41 percent having suffered physical abuse. Incarceration of girls often arises from situations in which they are the victims — of human trafficking, of physical or emotional abuse, or other coercion. A much higher percentage of male youth are in prison or jail than are female youth. Among youth ages 18 to 19, men are almost 16 times more likely than women to be in jail or prison. There are stark racial disparities in the population of incarcerated youth. Among the estimated 717,800 men ages 18 to 29 currently incarcerated, 37 percent (290,100) are black while 23 percent (180,400) are Hispanic. Among men, a higher proportion of blacks and Hispanics are incarcerated at any age than are men of other races. Among women, a higher percentage of blacks are incarcerated than are women of other races.
Trump’s prisons for profit see dollar signs in youth prisons
Trump is responsible for incarcerating more youth than any other president in history. On any given day, Trump and his corrupt private prison system is responsible for as many as 60,000 to 70,000 American children being in prison – away from their families and their homes. The youth justice system has been indisputably corrupted by Trump and his private prison system resulting in thousands of our children being arrested daily, handcuffed and put in leg irons and belly chains to appear in court – regardless of the seriousness of the charge. Two-thirds of children held in detention are there for nonviolent reasons that can include conduct that isn’t even illegal for adults, such as offenses like skipping school or running away from home.
Trump is the architect of a corrupt private prison system that intends to routinely victimize youth and promote a corrupt cycle of incarcerations that promises a future prison cell for as many of our young people as possible in an attempt to feed his greed. Trump has convinced Americans that it is acceptable for a seven-year-old to be handcuffed and charged with a crime — that kids should be locked up for noncriminal behavior – and that there is no need for criminal justice reform to change a punitive system that treats vulnerable kids as “little adults. The US must now spark a larger national discussion to call for urgent reforms in juvenile justice systems across the country. Youth are too often overlooked, and it’s time to make sure their voices are heard in the fight for reform before Trump packs his corrupt private prisons with them.
(This is Article #7 in our America’s Incarceration Nation series reporting on Prison Reforms in the US.)
OTHER PRISON REFORM ARTICLES OF INTEREST BY THIS AUTHOR:
Paul Cogan is a writer for the republicandirtytricks.com and is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He specializes in coverage of justice, political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him by following him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/paul.f.cogan.
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