California’s largest juvenile prison provides virtually no education services, allows inmates to keep makeshift ropes in their cells and keeps most of them locked up 22 hours a day, says a state inspector general’s report quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. The report, issued more than two years after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to improve conditions in youth prisons, says the environment is so bad at the Herman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino that inmates could be especially prone to violence or suicide.
The review brought on harsh criticism from advocates for juvenile offenders, who noted that the state has missed court-ordered deadlines to implement reform plans it agreed to when Schwarzenegger settled a lawsuit in 2004 over unconstitutional conditions inside youth lockups. State Sen. Gloria Romero, who has proposed shutting down the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice (formerly the California Youth Authority), said she “wanted to scream when I read this report. Nothing has changed. We’re dealing with an organization that is impervious to change.” Investigators visited Stark three times last year and found numerous problems,. which are detailed by the Chronicle.