According to the Huffington Post report, “Minors can be punished simply for exhibiting typical teenage behavior, like disobedience, not fully understanding prison rules, or not knowing how to cope with anxiety.” The investigation uncovered video evidence of conflicts between guards and young inmates. Where an older inmate might have been able to comply with guard demands, or remain calm in the face of emotional abuse, young people ended up in situations of appalling physical and emotional abuse — gassed with chemical spray, forcibly restrained, tied to their beds unsupervised, forced to strip naked, and verbally taunted.
The consequences of such abuse are enormous:
There is an increasing body of scientific research showing that when adolescents suffer from extreme stress and trauma, it can inflict permanent damage on their bodies and brains. A study led by the CDC found that children who experienced multiple forms of trauma, such as physical and sexual abuse, had a life expectancy 20 years shorter than their counterparts.
“One national study found that in a single year, almost 10 times more black kids were committed to adult facilities than white kids. Of 257 children prosecuted as adults in Chicago between 2010 and 2012, only one was white.”
A Huffington Post Highline investigation.