Paterson Proposes Youth Detention Reforms; Critics Say It Isn’t Enough


New York Gov. David Paterson has proposed reforming New York’s system for housing juvenile offenders with a new oversight office and tighter restrictions on who can be incarcerated, reports the Associated Press. The proposals were made as investigations continue into allegations that a dance last year at a detention center turned into a sex party. Some Republican senators are calling for Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion to resign, saying she hasn’t been tough enough. Paterson said she’s doing a good job.

Carrion has emphasized a “therapeutic” model and putting juveniles in programs at home instead of residential detention centers. She has also begun closing some of those institutions and cutting related jobs. The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the state’s response to a federal investigation last year that found staff at four facilities caused serious injuries, including broken bones, when they routinely used force to restrain juveniles, not just as a last resort. The Legal Aid Society of New York sued the state in federal court, seeking better treatment of mental health problems among youths in state detention and a ban on physical restraints. The organization said retraining staff and Carrion’s revised restraint policy were not enough.

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