Jailing juveniles as a form of “rehabilitation” comes with an expensive price tag. More than money, the criminal justice system costs kids their rights and that state seems to be OK with that.
“In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, the Children’s Law Center and the Office of the Ohio Public Defender began an investigation into the extraordinarily high rates at which Ohio youth waived their right to counsel in delinquency proceedings,” says the opening statement of a report card on Ohio’s juvenile justice system. “In the course of that investigation, the groups uncovered a number of other ways in which the Ohio juvenile justice system fails the state’s children, often in violation of national and international standards. Although the United States has not ratified all of the international standards cited below, those treaties represent a global consensus on the manner in which juvenile justice systems.”
This report card looks at a number of issues important to guaranteeing the few rights children are afforded in this country. Here are the categories and grades issued.
Waiver of counsel: Incomplete - In 24 of Ohio's 88 counties, more than 90 percent of juveniles facing charges were not represented by lawyers.
Shackling of juveniles: F - Children may be shackled in Ohio courtrooms for any or no reason.
Juveniles tried as adults: C- - Ohio mandates that children charged with certain crimes be tried as adults.
Detention and commitment rates: C - Ohio detains and incarcerates a greater percentage of our adolescent population than most states.
Disproportionate minority confinement: Incomplete - In 2006, for every Caucasian child in custody, there were four children of color.