Justice for all our children in New York City.
Once again the Dept. of Justice and the Prison Industrial Complex has been taking advantage of the most vulnerable in our community.Yes, low income teenagers of color suffering from mental disorders due to trauma.I guess if you wanted to reach any lower than that you would have to have an all out attack on babies.
GEMS is a Harlem-based nonprofit organization that offers transitional programs to teenagers and young adults working in the sex industry.In New York City, low-income young women of color are most affected by sexual exploitation and are rarely seen as victims, but rather criminalized for their victimization.The vast majority of young women served by GEMS have histories of extreme trauma prior to exploitation.
Current laws penalize minors arrested for prostitution. If a 14-year-old female is alleged to have consenting sex with a man over 18, the man is charged with rape. If the man pays the 14-year-old for sex,instead of treating the teenager as a victim,the teenager is held criminally responsible.Many teenage prostitutes are sent to juvenile detention centers. Others are often sent to prisons for adults.
For more than a decade, teen-age girls have been the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice population. While there has been a steady decline in juvenile crime over the past decade, the number of female juvenile arrests has increased by 20% in New York City over the same period.
Once in detention, these teenagers fear the use of make-shift weapons, the chaos that often occurs when girls with mental health needs are inadequately supervised, physical abuse by staff and peers, and their risk of sexual assault when supervised by male counselors. Human Rights Watch researchers reported that many girls experience excessively forceful physical restraints and are subject to multiple forms of sexual abuse. There is a lack of prenatal care and comprehensive health services for pregnant girls. Among the issues pregnant girls report are difficulty in getting enough food, inability to rest, and lack of counseling.
I think most people would be alarmed to learn that our system of justice targets low income teenagers of color many suffering from mental illness due to trauma.Do you think it would be any consolation to these girls to know that slavery was abolished 150 years ago?Can anyone offer a reason why this system is so locked in place that we cannot untangle ourselves from it?We can take thousands of our troops halfway across the world to take on some tyrant that we armed and supported for a decade,but we can’t take on our own tyranny right here at home.