Texas authorities are investigating whether guards at state juvenile detention facilities broke the bones of 60 young offenders while using abusive tactics, reports USA Today. The investigation is part of a criminal inquiry into the Texas Youth Commission, one of the largest U.S. juvenile justice systems, with about 4,000 offenders. It was triggered by medical reports over five years showing inmates were treated for suspicious breaks, commonly the humerus, the long bone in the upper arm. Investigators suspect the arm injuries occurred when guards yanked offenders’ arms upward while the limbs were shackled behind their backs.
Yesterday, four system superintendents were suspended. Since March, eight staff members have been arrested, 19 have been fired, and termination proceedings are pending for 62 others. Experts said allegations in Texas are symptomatic of recurring troubles in institutions nationwide. Over seven years, juvenile facilities in 11 states have been the focus of federal reviews for possible civil rights violations. “State reform schools are hothouses for psychopaths,” said Jerome Miller, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. “As time goes by, many of these systems trend toward repression and brutality.”