3 takeaways of AP review of COVID-19 in youth detention
More and more inmates at risk of contracting the coronavirus are being released from adult jails and prisonsBy MARGIE MASON and ROBIN MCDOWELL Associated PressApril 27, 2020, 9:47 PM3 min read Fear and frustration is rising in some juvenile detention centers as the number of youth and staff infected by the coronavirus continues to mount, with riots and escapes reported in facilities in hard hit New York and Louisiana. But as more and more state and local officials announce the release of at-risk inmates from the nation’s adult jails and prisons, parents, advocates for children’s rights and criminal justice experts have been asking one question: Why aren’t more youths being sent home when the virus threatens their physical and mental health? Key takeaways from an AP review: WHO IS AFFECTED? America locks up more people than any other country in the world, with more than 2.2 million people behind bars. The juvenile population has seen a steady decline in the last two decades, in 2017 numbering at around 43,000, and around 70% of those youths are being held for low-level crimes. So compared to adults, finding out which kids can safely be returned home should not be a heavy lift.