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December 2003
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Justice Department sues Mississippi

Via Atrios, this CBS news report Feds Allege Youth Camps Abuse

Among the abuses uncovered: suicidal girls were stripped naked and placed in solitary confinement in a dark cell with only a drain for a toilet, boys were forced to run with mattresses strapped to their backs, girls who threw up while running in the heat were forced to eat their vomit, and youths were tied to poles or hog-tied….

According to a June letter from the Justice Department to Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, investigators found the camps also lacked proper sanitation and educational services, and violated the youths’ First Amendment rights by “forcing them to engage in religious activities.”

The letter said youth were sometimes forced to get up in the middle of the night and walk around their dormitory with their hands on their head. Counselors were reported to have slapped and choked youths, and used pepper spray on them when they refused to exercise, or when they were tied up.

Further details and reports on these youth gulags, which were apparently not only tolerated by the state for many years, but actually encouraged as a form of “rehabilitation,” are available here and here.
Note that many of these youngsters are there for low level drug possession charges.
If you’re a parent, I ask you: Would you rather your child deal with the risks and temptations of drugs under your guidance and rules, or would you have them sent to a place like this?

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