DOJ investigating alleged sexual abuse and excessive isolation in Texas juvenile detention centers

DOJ investigating alleged sexual abuse and excessive isolation in Texas juvenile detention centers
·2 min read

The Justice Department will investigate the conditions of several juvenile detention centers in Texas where there have been allegations of abuse.

Five juvenile detention centers run by Texas will be analyzed as part of the statewide investigation into whether the facilities provide adequate protection against things such as physical and sexual abuse and excessive use of isolation, the agency announced on Wednesday. The inquiry will also look into whether these facilities provide children with the proper mental healthcare.

Following allegations and arrests of 11 staff members who allegedly physically and sexually abused children in the facilities, the DOJ found they had "significant justification" to open an investigation.

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Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said one situation in February involved a young child who was allegedly pepper-sprayed, placed in handcuffs and a belly chain, forced to wear shackles and a spit mask, and then body-slammed to the ground, according to NBC News.

She added that other staff members paid children cash or drugs to harm other children in the detention centers.

"Too often children held in juvenile detention facilities are subject to abuse and mistreatment, and deprived of their constitutional rights," Clarke said in the DOJ statement. "State officials have a constitutional obligation to ensure reasonable safety for children in these institutions. The Department of Justice stands ready to protect the right of children who end up in juvenile facilities and our investigation will ensure that the treatment of these children comports with constitutional standards."

Clarke noted the investigation, conducted by civil rights attorneys within the DOJ, will be an "independent, thorough and fair" one, according to the NBC report. She added that if the investigation turns out to "reveal reasonable cause to believe" there is wrongdoing within the centers, they will notify the state of Texas of actions to take to fix the system.

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The Justice Department is also involved in challenging Texas's new abortion law ruling the procedures are barred after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which generally occurs around the six-week mark.

The Washington Examiner reached out to the Justice Department and the Juvenile Justice System in Texas for further comment but did not receive a response.

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Tags: News, Department of Justice, Texas, Sexual Assault

Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis

Original Location: DOJ investigating alleged sexual abuse and excessive isolation in Texas juvenile detention centers

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