As reported by the Associated Press, the treatment of Latino teens in a Virginia juvenile detention center is not abuse, contrary to previous reports by the media.
In 2017, detained teens filed a lawsuit against the guards at the center claiming they were severely abused.
A June 2018 story soon reported the details of the abuse allegations.
However, the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice certification team conducted a thorough investigation and sent their findings to Child Protective Services, where it was concluded there were no concerning life, health or safety risks to residents of the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.
Investigators also found no evidence of beatings and other abuse described in the lawsuit. They were unable to meet with the teens who made sworn statements on their abuse.
The findings revealed that the facility staff is trained to use restrain chairs and “mesh spit guards” for “out-of-control residents who cannot be safely restrained by less intrusive methods,” which are not utilized for punishment, but to “ensure safety and security” of those in the facility.
The lawsuit details claims from some teens of being left for days in isolation in restraint chairs. Investigators found no evidence of this occurrence.
The report revealed investigators did discover two instances of staff members that were reprimanded for using incorrect restraint techniques, but neither incident involved a restraint chair.
These findings are reminiscent of recent alleged abuse and mistreatment at the southern border of the United States.
A viral image of a child in a cage claimed to be a product of the White House’s “family separation” immigration policies by showing a child detained by ICE, when in fact it was actually a photo taken at a “cage protest” of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
A now well-known photo of a young girl crying as her mother is searched and detained at the border was also exploited by news outlets that claimed it was an image of the child being taken from her mother.
Countless news organizations misrepresented the image of the crying child (perhaps most notably being Time magazine’s exploitative use of the photo) and claimed the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration laws were to blame.
The organizations failed to explain she was never in fact separated from her mother.
According to AP, about 92 immigrant children between the ages of 12 and 17 come through Shenandoah every year.
In 2017, the facility was given $4.2 million in federal funds to house children “facing deportation proceedings or awaiting rulings on asylum claims.”
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