Two years after a child died there, the Justice Department is investigating of New York State’s Tryon Boys Residential Center, a juvenile facility, reports the New York Times. The newspaper editorializes that the case illustrates “disastrous juvenile justice policies” across the U.S. Juvenile justice facilities are run by workers who have not been trained to handle the mentally ill children who make up much of the caseload. Facilities overuse dangerous restraint and disciplinary practices in which children are handcuffed, hog tied, bound to chairs, or wrestled to the floor and held down. Grand jury testimony alleges that staff members at the Tryon Boys facility used the so-called prone restraint strategy against Darryl Thompson, an emotionally disturbed 15-year-old who died of arrhythmia.
The Times says New York State needs to downsize some facilities. It will need to hire more mental health professionals and retrain current staff members. The state should help cities and towns develop community-based treatment programs, says the newspaper.