U.S. Looks Overseas for Human Rights Abuses and Ignores U.N. Report Criticizing its Youth Detention Practices at Home
"...in a report
released and presented ... to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Juan
Mendez, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on torture, sharply criticized
the U.S. model of youth detention where children are at 'heightened risk
of violence, abuse, and acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.' Even short periods of detention undermine a
child's psychological and physical wellbeing. The report points out that
children's healthy development requires developing emotional
connections to caring adults, a requirement that most institutions
consistently fail to meet.
The United State is the biggest jailer of children in the world.... nearly two-thirds are held for non-violent offenses, including theft,
drug possession, or skipping school. And thousands of more children are
locked up in adult jails and prisons in the United States. Children of
color are over-represented in detention, particularly among youth
serving extreme sentences.
Mendez...singles out the United States for being the only nation in the world that sentences children to die in prison.
The report makes several key recommendations including eliminating
juvenile life-without-parole sentences for children and the detention of
immigrant children. There should be no use of restraints or solitary
confinement under any circumstances. No children should be tried in
adult court, and all children should be held in age-appropriate
View the Report