SPLC: Jeff. Co. Jail inmates under 18 endure abuse, neglect

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The U.S. Department of Justice has been asked to take a deeper look at the Jefferson County Jail for inmates under the age of 18.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent a letter to the Justice Department containing information gleaned from interviews with 20 children under the age of 18.

In the 50 interviews, the SPLC says information shows children awaiting trial at the jail are vulnerable and experience violence, abuse and neglect.

The SPLC says the conditions are a violation of the inmates’ rights.

“The letter describes a 2013 incident where four adult detainees attacked a 17-year-old boy sleeping on the floor of his cell,” the SPLC said in a statement released Thursday. “His head was beaten against the floor and his throat cut with razors in a brutal attempt to prevent him from testifying in court.”

“These children should not be forever damaged as a result of their time at the Jefferson County Jail,” said Ebony Howard, the senior staff attorney for the SPLC. “If we care about our young people, our communities and the future, we cannot tolerate this abuse and neglect.”

To view the entire letter, click here.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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