The youngest inmate at Kewanee, an Illinois juvenile facility, can hardly ever see his mother because she’s 300 miles away, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports.
A judge sent 14-year-old Jaime Peoples (not his real name) to the facility for an “indefinite” amount of time to learn to control his anger and behave, his mother Celia told JJIE.
Jaime, who got in trouble for punching a boy in the nose, has been diagnosed with bipolar disease, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and PTSD, JJIE reports.
When he was 8 years old, Jaime watched masked gunmen enter his house and fire 17 rounds into his uncle, his mother says. Celia wants the counselors there to recognise the harmful side effects of Jaime’s childhood.
“They don’t see the same patterns as I do. I go to sleep, and I can picture him curled up in a ball crying for me. And this is the worst feeling a parent could ever feel,” Celia said.
The ACLU has sued the state the Illinois Department of Justice for allegedly not providing adequate mental health care. Last September, the department agreed to improve conditions at the facilities as a result of a settlement with the ACLU.
Before the settlement, juvenile inmates were receiving about 30 minutes of therapy per week — far less than other Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, according to the John Howard Association of Illinois.
Jaime still gets just 30 minutes of individual counseling a week, JJIE reported. However, juvenile offenders also receive four or five hours of group therapy, a representative for the facility told JJIE.
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