Gothamist: NY officials renew waiver allowing teenage detainees to sleep in classrooms

Gothamist has reported that a controversial housing arrangement in the city's Juvenile Detention Centers, which sees detained youth being forced to sleep overnight in classrooms due to overcrowding, has been extended until at least April.

"The state has extended a waiver allowing teens in the city’s overcrowded juvenile detention centers to sleep on plastic pallets in common areas like classrooms for at least the next three months, according to a document and city and state officials.

"Lawyers for young people who have been charged with crimes ranging from petty theft to murder first raised concerns that the teens were sleeping in classrooms in November. They said sleeping in a common area is dangerous because it puts the teens, who are between 13 and 17 years old, at risk of being robbed or assaulted by their peers at night. The lawyers said at the time that two of their clients had been assaulted at night, and others had told them they were too afraid to go to sleep."


"Lisa Salvatore, Brooklyn Defender Services Attorney-in-Charge of the Adolescent Representation Unit said it was “appalling” that the city and the state Office of Children and Family Services, which oversees the jails, would continue to force children to sleep on the floor and in classrooms in the dangerous facilities, and that the city should instead invest in resources to “help children thrive.”


"This is the first time the state has issued a waiver to bypass state law at the jails.

Youth detention numbers citywide have soared in the past two years, from 987 admissions in 2021 to 1,775 in 2023 according to city data — the highest admission rate in six years. More than 93% of youth detained are Black or Hispanic, according to the city Administration for Children’s Services."

Read the full piece here.

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