I think it’s saying something that perhaps the only group of people less self-aware than the politicians we elect are those of us who elect them. American politics have always been the politics of consensus, meaning that the range of disagreement — the occasional vehemence of our political discourse notwithstanding — is small. And we’ve constricted it ever further with our candidate requirements, and, in so doing, have limited the Presidency to a very select group of people whose hands are tied from the moment they set out on the campaign trail.
That’s all fine, actually. But maybe we should stop blaming candidates for it. I’m not trying to lionize candidates; Lord knows they’ve got plenty of issues, all of which are exhaustively documented. But let’s just be a little self-aware, shall we, about our own role in the disaster?—Utah Politico Hub
Juveniles placed in adult prisons are particularly at risk of landing in the hole—in part, ironically, because of laws designed to protect them. The Prison Rape Elimination Act, enacted to curb sexual abuse of prisoners, stipulates that unsupervised minors may not come into "sight, sound, or physical contact" with adult inmates. Because many prisons lack the space or the staff to separate teens from adults in a more humane way, psychiatrist Kupers told me, the kids "wind up in isolative confinement."
The Justice Department recently intervened in a Michigan case on behalf of a group of boys in adult prisons, one of whom was raped and then allegedly spent more than five months in solitary by choice, petrified that he would be attacked again. While the lawsuit focuses on allegations that the prison didn't properly separate juveniles from adults, the boys' attorney, Deborah Labelle, says the isolation was clearly detrimental to the boys' mental health: Four of her seven plaintiffs attempted suicide: two of them did so while they were in solitary, because "they just could not take it anymore." (A Michigan corrections spokesman wouldn't comment on the lawsuit.) "If a jail is that violent that they cannot ensure safety without locking people down," one prison reform expert told me, "there are more problems than isolation."—Mother Jones