Staff use of force on the rise at New York City juvenile detention centers

New York City Councilman Keith Powers at Criminal Justice and Justice System Joint Committee Hearing
New York City Councilman Keith Powers at Criminal Justice and Justice System Joint Committee Hearing
Emil Cohen/New York City Council
Keith Powers, chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Criminal Justice, at hearing on use of force at juvenile detention centers.

Staff use of force on the rise at New York City juvenile detention centers

The New York City Council grilled city officials over the continued controversies surrounding the centers
December 4, 2019

The use of force by staff has been increasing at two youth detention centers in New York City, drawing criticism from the New York City Council yesterday, The Chronicle of Social Change reports. 

The Horizon Juvenile Center in The Bronx reported 181 incidents where staff used force against detainees from July to September, up from 133 the previous quarter. At the Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn, the number of incidents rose to 396 after the previous three quarters reported 357, 247 and 227 incidents respectively. 

The centers, which house teenagers on criminal charges, have often faced controversy for reports of violence and staff use of mechanical or physical restraints. With the implementation of the Raise the Age law, 16- and 17-year olds detained on Rikers Island were moved to Horizon last year – and with them came guards from Rikers. The city Administration for Children’s Services currently shares management of Horizon with the Department of Correction, though its personnel will be reduced to “a small contingent” starting in January, according to written testimony by an official with the Administration for Children’s Services. 

Despite a report from a court-appointed monitor that found Horizon’s correction officers are more likely to use force than those in adult jails, their departure will still take some time to effect. Officials from the Department of Correction are expected to leave by September 2020, when all detainees charged before the implementation of Raise the Age turn 18. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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