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2 Ind. juvenile facilities rank high in DOJ report

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Two Indiana juvenile facilities are cited in a new U.S. Department of Justice report for having high rates of sexual victimization among the young offenders.

The report identified 13 facilities as having a high rate of victimization, which includes Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility and the all-female Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility. More than 36 percent of juvenile offenders at Pendleton reported sexual victimization, which is more than double the national average. Almost 23 percent of youth at the Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility reported any sexual victimization while in the facility.

Those numbers are quite high, especially when compared to the 12 percent of youth in facilities around the country who reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or staff member.

The numbers come from a study released Thursday by the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics that focused on larger facilities - both state and nonstate - that typically hold adjudicated youth for longer periods. More than 9,000 youth answered questionnaires using a computer and audio instructions about sexual incidents while in the facilities between June 2008 and April 2009. The DOJ estimates there are more than 26,000 adjudicated youth held in state operated or large nonstate facilities.

The DOJ defined sexual victimization as any forced sexual activity with another youth and all sexual activity with a staff member.

The report breaks down victimization by another youth or by staff. Seven percent of Pendleton youth reported sexual victimization by another youth; nearly 32 percent claimed they were victimized by staff. At the Indianapolis facility, more than 16 percent said they were victimized by another youth and almost 9 percent claimed to be victimized by staff.

In 2007, St. Joseph Juvenile Judge Peter Nemeth ordered a review and stopped sending females to the Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility because of issues such as inadequate staffing, claims of sexual misconduct, and a lack of educational or vocational programs. At that time, the facility housed both males and females, but the Indiana Department of Correction in March 2008 made the facility all-female and relocated the males to other sites. Female youths from the Indianapolis facility were moved to the Madison facility in November 2009.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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