• Jail From HELL: Feds Investigate Allegations Of Rampant Sexual Abuse Of Juveniles At Jail

    Federal investigators have begun digging into an Alabama jail rife with shocking allegations.

    The Department of Justice launched an investigation into Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Ala., after allegations that juvenile offenders are routinely put in the same housing as older inmates who harass them for sexual favors and abuse them.

    The allegations also claim mentally ill and disabled inmates are routinely put in solitary confinement with little to no access to the outside world, something proven to greatly exacerbate their condition.

    Mental conditions make inmates much more likely to act out, which is part of the reason they need special treatment. Isolation, normally meant to force prisoners into compliance, usually only makes mentally ill inmates worse.

    “Isolation—particularly the prolonged and restrictive lockdown alleged in Jefferson County—can lead to paranoia, anxiety, depression and suicide, and exacerbate pre-existing psychological harms,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

    Chief Deputy Randy Christian at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office largely dismissed the allegations.

    “If they would rob, rape or murder you, I would likely assume they would also lie to try and make it out of adult jail,” he told AL.com. “It isn’t a place for the faint of heart but it is a place they are treated fairly. We certainly have no heartburn over proving that in court should we need to.”

    This isn’t the first facility to get such federal scrutiny. The feds have investigated Mississippi Leflore County Juvenile Detention Center, Rikers Island in New York, Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Detention Center, and the Ohio Scioto and Marion Juvenile Correctional Facilities.

    The Jefferson County investigation is ongoing.

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