North Carolina’s five juvenile prisons are so decrepit and dangerous that the state should spend $90 million to build three new ones, says State Auditor Ralph Campbell. The Raleigh News & Observer said an audit by Campbell concluded that treatment programs and classes that nearly 600 youths attend are poorly organized and underfunded
The report criticizes the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the governor, who leads an oversight council that rarely meets; and at state legislators, who repeatedly cut department budget requests. The audit was done after three incarcerated youths accused a staff member of repeatedly molesting them. If improvements are not made immediately, the state could face significant legal action.
Disrepair poses the most immediate risk to youths, the audit says. One center has serious security problems. One building dates from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Rep. Martin Nesbitt, an Asheville Democrat who is among those who requested the audit, said, “This is an absolute crisis situation.”