“Disgusting” and “disturbing” are two words that were used quite a bit today, as the Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee held an emergency hearing to talk about the findings of a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics on sexual abuse in the Illinois juvenile justice system.
According to the report released last month, Illinois is among the four worst states in the country when it comes to juveniles being sexually abused while in detention facilities.
15-percent of young people who are incarcerated reported they were victims of sexual assault by a staff person or by other youths who were also detained at the facility.
The Vice Chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, a state advisory group, testified that the larger the facility, the more problems. And the longer the juveniles stay, the potential for harm increases.
State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago), who called today’s emergency committee meeting, says money is not the issue.
Ford says he has been talking to the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and they have been trying to work out solutions. Ford says he is not calling for him to be fired. He says he just wants the system to be safer for children while they are in it.