The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Washington, D.C. Juvenile Detention:
Walls, Bars, No Guards

Aug 7, 2023

Understaffing at Washington, D.C.’s youth jail—where arrested children are detained while awaiting trial—is a problem, as more youths are being arrested for violent crimes.

The city hires around 30 fewer jailers for youth than five years ago. It has 40 fewer guards than the courts require. According to a recent news story, when a fight broke out on April 10 the jailers were overwhelmed. They called in police and locked down all the children for three days. Some say longer. The youths could only leave their cells for one or two hours a day. The jail’s teachers had to pass lesson plans through their cell doors. The youths had to pass them back the next day. Understaffing delayed response to another fight on June 17. What else is not reported?

Their solution to not having enough guards is to keep children, who have not been convicted of crime, locked away in their cells.

The facility was under court monitor until 2020 because of a lawsuit filed by young inmates back in 1985 over, guess what, understaffing. In 1980 the guards had a two-day wildcat strike over, guess what, understaffing. Nothing changes.

The government just won’t spend the money on young people capitalism throws away.