This piece is guest-posted by Roz Hunter, a Nation intern and freelance writer based in New York City.
In a recent investigation for The Nation, Daniel Redman exposed the terrifying treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the juvenile system. Across the United States, queer youth—detained in disproportionate numbers—face brutalization by prison staff and peers alike.
Recently, Redman joined Gabrielle Prisco of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York on The Nation on GRIT TV to discuss the travesty of the current state of the juvenile system. LGBT youth “face a daily drumbeat of abuse from their peers: physical, verbal, sexual abuse,” Redman explained. “Overall, you have a system that tells LGBT youth in the justice system that they deserve it.”
So, call or email your state legislators and tell them that this horrifying violence against queer youth in prison in unacceptable. Send them Redman’s article, ‘I Was Scared to Sleep’: LGBT Youth Face Violence Behind Bars and the segment on The Nation on GRIT TV. And, ask them to convene hearings on the discrimination against LGBT youth in prison. You can find your state legislators here.
Learn more and educate others. Download the reports Hidden Justice from the Equity Project and Locked Up and Out from the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Order a free copy of the Breaking the Silence DVD featured in the GRIT TV segment and host a screening.
Demand change in Louisiana, where, as Redman found, the problem is particularly acute; contact Dr. Mary Livers of the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice and ask her to issue a formal nondiscrimination policy to protect LGBT youth and to institute training for corrections staff.
Take action to fight the continued violence confronting queer youth detained across the United States in a dysfunctional and brutal system.