Photo: hmk/Flickr Creative Commons
A Las Vegas family court judge said this week that he would like to expand an inquiry into another juvenile detention facility after ordering that inmates at a juvenile detention center in Elko, Nevada be cleared out, theLas Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“If a parent did that, it would be child abuse — probably charged criminally,” Judge William Voy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“When you treat a kid like an animal, you’re going to get an animal,” Voy said. “There’s other ways of dealing with it, without resorting to something that would otherwise be child abuse if it wasn’t in an institution.”
Staff at the Elko facility reportedly restrained juvenile inmates at the Nevada Youth Training Center by linking handcuffs and ankle shackles. Reports of the technique, known as “hobbling” or “hogtying,” spurred Judge Voy to recall 12 youth from Las Vegas who’d been held at the facility. In 2002 the Department of Justice investigated the Nevada Youth Training Center staff after receiving complaints of detainee abuse, AP reported. Five employees were eventually fired.
It’s not just Elko. More than one in four youth held in juvenile detention told researchers with the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) that they’d been restrained in some way before in 2010. Those physical restraints include: “handcuffs, wristlets, a security belt, chains, or a restraint chair.”