Young girls abused in New York prisons

One of the readings that struck me the most was the Human Rights Watch report on Conditions of Confinement in New York’s Juvenile Prisons for Girls. I am completely blown away that this facility is legally functioning because there is so much abuse for the young girls. Basically, there are two large facilities in New York, Tyron and Lansing, and they are prisons for young girls who commit an act that would be charged as a criminal offense if it were by an adult (like stealing). The report described how at these prisons, the staff proceeds to restrain the girls, who are as young as twelve, by shoving them to the ground and pushing their faces into the floor. The workers use so much force that at times it has even broken the girls’ limbs. According to law, when dealing with children, physical force can be used only in case of emergency when a violent child needs to be controlled. However, here at the prison, the girls are being punished for Continue reading

Condoms in Prison?

I read a Human Rights Watch report about whether or not condoms should be allowed to inmates in prisons and jails.  The title intrigued me and relates to some of the issues discussed in the readings about elderly offenders; specifically the types of diseases older inmates are faced with, including AIDS.  Since infection rates within prisons and jails are fairly high compared with that of the general population it seems to make sense to encourage the distribution of condoms. Certainly some feel a strong opposition to this idea, fearing it will encourage sexual activity and moral/ religious beliefs against homosexuality. Another concern for correction officers is that condoms are sometimes used to carry contraband such as tobacco and/ or drugs. The report noted, however, that contraband is more often brought into the prison through contact visits the inmates have with visitors.  The report cites other countries’ wide spread use of condoms in prisons, as well as opinions of inmates and correction officers in a Washington D.C. Detention Center, where 55 percent of inmates and 64 percent of correction officers support the availability of condoms in their facility.  If I were a correction officer I would most likely be in favor of condoms because it would most likely reduce the risk that a guard might acquire the HIV infection by means of an accident or attack on a guard, in addition to protecting the health of inmates.  Surely there would be risks associated with the availability of condoms due to the risk of contraband, but condoms could also be a wonderful tool for helping to maintain healthier facilities.