The Justice Department should act swiftly and decisively to protect young people who are being battered and raped in juvenile corrections facilities, editorializes the New York Times. The newspaper calls shocking the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics study reported last week in Crime & Justice News finding that 12 percent of youth in custody report being sexually abused one or more times, mainly by staff members.
The 2003 federal Prison Rape Elimination Act law gave the attorney general until June of this year to evaluate the commission's findings and issue new rape-prevention standards. Juvenile justice advocates worry that the Justice Department will allow states to water down those requirements, arguing that they will be too expensive to implement. The department should not allow that to happen, says the Times: “Zero tolerance for abuse in prisons or juvenile facilities must be the law of the land.”