mercredi 30 mars 2016

U.S : Kentucky is Endangering Black Kids.

Kentucky's Juvenile Detention Center is not fit to house children

Gynnya McMillen Detention Center Death

Tell Gov Bevin: It's Time to Clean House !


Dear friend,

Last month the nation watched as a non-violent, 19-year-old Black girl was physically and verbally assaulted while being pushed out of a Donald Trump rally by white men in Kentucky. Local officials said and did nothing. It is pretty obvious how little the state cares about it’s Black girls. This same apathy and abuse is what took the life of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen who died while in isolation at Kentucky's Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center from a heart condition shortly after staff placed her in a martial arts Aikido restraint.1

After reviewing surveillance footage of Gynnya's stay at the detention center, the Kentucky Public Safety Commissioner admitted to an appalling level of falsified reports, failed supervision and “outright indifference” on the part of detention center staff. The investigation exposed a broken surveillance camera that failed to capture key footage of the martial arts hold that may have triggered Gynnya's death as well as the lack of vital training amongst staff.2 Even the facility's nurse admitted during a taped 911 call that she was unfamiliar with the center's required CPR protocol, causing a delay in potentially life-saving efforts.3
The detention staff’s negligence resembles how Kentucky systematically fails Black youth daily. In Kentucky, Black youth are more than 2.5 times as likely as white and Hispanic youth to be charged with a public offense and more than four times as likely to spend time in a juvenile detention facility.4 Several juvenile justice advocates have expressed alarm at the way Gynnya was treated and question why she was sent to a juvenile detention center and placed in solitary confinement instead of less traumatic options since it was her first offense.5
There are life-threatening systemic issues in the way Kentucky cares for Black children, and people must be held accountable for that. More than 10% of the Lincoln Village Detention Center Staff are now facing disciplinary results based on their actions during Gynnya's time there.Superintendent Michelle Grady is responsible for creating a culture of safety for youth in the detention center. There is no indication that she will be held responsible for staff failures that may have cost Gynnya her life.

In peace and solidarity,

Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Enchanta and the rest of the ColorOfChange team

  1. "Gynnya McMillen Restrained in Detention Center Altercation Before Her Death, State Says," 01.29.2016
  2. "Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Department Press Conference: GynnyaMcMillen," WHAS11 ABC 03.16.2016
  3. "Audio: CPR started 11 minutes after staff found Gynnya McMillen," CBS News01.30.2016
  4. "Sen. Westerfield plans push for additional juvenile justice reform, synthetic drug legislation," CN|2 02.04.2016
  5. “Official: Detention staff used martial arts on Gynnya McMillen,” CBS News 1.29.2016
  6. See reference 2

ColorOfChange is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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