Hawaii, U.S. Settle Youth Prison Suit; Gay Issues Remain


In a settlement with the federal government, Hawaii has agreed to make sweeping improvements at a troubled youth prison in the next three years, reports the New York Times. A civil liberties group that sued over the problems says the agreement does not go far enough to protect gay youths from harassment, abuse, and discrimination. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright described conditions at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility as “chaotic” and called for the state to stop the abuse and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender wards.

Hawaii attorney general Mark Bennett said that the state planned to develop policies to deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender wards, and that state officials would consult with the American Civil Liberties Union in doing so. The state’s settlement agreement with the Justice Department imposes dozens of conditions on the youth prison, including the development of suicide prevention and intervention procedures, the protection of young wards from physical and sexual abuse, and the employment of enough staff members to supervise and care for the wards. An independent monitor will oversee the state’s changes.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/13/national/13hawaii.html

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