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Maryland juvenile detainees face extreme hardships

Juveniles who are facing criminal charges in the court system face a tough road. For some who are in juvenile detention centers, dealing with solitary confinement is one of those challenges. The difficulty, however, is much more pronounced for children who are facing charges as adults and are being held in adult prisons.

Children who are facing charges in adult courts are usually kept in solitary confinement in the adult prison to help them stay protected from the adults. During a time in life when these children, mostly teens, should be learning proper social interaction, they are being caged like animals and kept alone in isolation without human interaction.

The problem in Maryland is serious. In the 1990s, when an increase in juvenile offenses became very serious, states made it easier to charge these children as adults, partially because of the fear of child superpredators. Children in this state who are at least 14 years old face the adult criminal justice system if they commit a crime like murder or first-degree rape.

While minors are generally safer in isolation than they are in general population, there has to be better way to handle these cases. Despite the crimes they have been charged with, these juveniles still have the right to humane treatment. In one case, a boy wearing a smock says he was so cold that he wrapped toilet paper around his feet to stay warm.

Those who have children in the juvenile justice system or facing charges in adult courts should know how to help them protect their rights. Knowing the laws pertaining to the children and their crimes might help you to learn ways that you help them out as they go through the court system.

Source: Solitary Watch, "In a Maryland Jail, Teens Charged As Adults Face Isolation and Neglect" Aviva Stahl, Jun. 17, 2014

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