On the heels of a settlement in Kansas where a child was repeatedly raped, another facility has been reported by a Social Worker for inhumane and immoral living conditions.
By James Carlson
Created November 26, 2009 at 10:40pm
Updated November 26, 2009 at 11:27pm
The Kansas Attorney General's Office and Juvenile Justice Authority are investigating allegations of shoddy conditions at a juvenile correctional facility in North Topeka.
In an anonymous letter sent earlier this month to numerous governmental agencies and to The Topeka Capital-Journal, a person self-identified as a social worker at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, 1430 N.W. 25th St., alleged the facility housed boys in "utterly inhumane and immoral" conditions in the segregation unit. Some of the issues raised include inadequate sleeping provisions, insufficient hygiene materials, a lack of medical treatment and placement of juveniles in isolation for long periods.
JJA spokesman Bill Miskell said it isn't out of the ordinary for his agency to receive allegations, and officials are following their protocol.
"Not all investigations are made public, but we investigate any allegation of wrongdoing that we receive," he said. "When we receive info that gives us cause for concern that requires attention of an outside agency -- the attorney general, for example -- we bring them into the process."
The governor's office, Kansas Human Rights Commission, attorney general's office, JJA and The Capital-Journal received copies of the letter.
Attorney general spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said her office can't comment on whether it is investigating the facility, but JJA and the governor's office confirmed separate investigations by both agencies.
"We support their investigative process," said Beth Martino, spokeswoman for the governor.
Miskell wasn't sure when its investigation would be complete and wasn't sure what, if any part of it, would be open to the public.
In the letter, the writer names five juveniles housed at KJCC who the writer says are experiencing the poor conditions.
This comes on the heels of JJA commissioner Russ Jennings' announcement late last month that he was implementing three changes to the state's juvenile justice system.
Under those policy shifts, JJA will now subject juvenile group homes and detention centers to twice-a-year outside reviews; reclassify its facilities to be rated as low, medium and high risk; and implement a statewide test to assess juveniles' risk of reoffending and the services best suited for their problems.
The Capital-Journal published a story Oct. 17 detailing issues at the Forbes Juvenile Attention Center, 6700 S.W. Topeka Blvd. Central to that story was a lawsuit against FJAC alleging a 12-year-old boy was raped repeatedly by his 15-year-old roommate.
Miskell said he couldn't off the top of his head quantify how many investigations happen each year but said they happen "frequently."