New York report finds crisis at youth prisons

December 14, 2009 11:58:07 AM PST
A task force reporting on problems in New York's youth prisons, including physical abuse, says only juveniles who threaten public safety should be locked up. A report released Monday notes most of the 1,600 youths placed in custody by judges each year had only misdemeanor convictions.

Many have psychological and addiction issues, they each cost the state about $210,000 annually and recidivism is high.

In August, a federal probe found that workers at four youth detention centers routinely used force, causing dozens of serious injuries, including broken bones and teeth.

New York has closed 13 juvenile detention facilities in the past decade in a move toward community-based alternatives.

The task force findings were first reported Monday by the New York Times.