Housing young criminals in adult prisons may put public at risk

 From the Plain Dealer, by Guest Columnist Gabriella Celeste
June 2nd 2012

“It’s like a zoo in here when it’s lights out . . . I can’t sleep at night . . . I’m going crazy.” These words haunt me when I think about my visit with a 15-year-old kid in an adult prison. A couple of his teeth had been knocked out. His hands and knees shook nervously while we talked. He showed me the tattoos he had inked on himself “to try and make me look tougher to the other guys.” He talked about the regret and shame he felt for his offense. Certainly, he should be held accountable. But it was clear that he would get no chance to turn himself around in that environment. If anything, he appeared to be becoming more hardened every day. He confessed that he was scared nearly every waking moment, and, based on what research tells us, he had reason to be.

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