I never posted this last week but did not want to forget to do it. I think we should not forget that police institutionalized violence is a widespread problem that manifests itself in many ways. Every state has mechanisms to sentence adolescents with adult sentences and for serious crimes, but New York is one of two states that automatically try 16 and 17 year olds as adults. Part of the consequences is that there are 489 teenage inmates at Riker's Island. A quarter of them have been placed at least part of the time in punitive segregation. The correctional officers are under investigation for their treatment of adolescents:
Among more than a dozen specific cases of brutality detailed in the report was one in which correction officers assaulted four inmates for several minutes, beating them with radios, batons and broomsticks, and slamming their heads against walls. Another inmate sustained a skull fracture and was left with the imprint of a boot on his back from an assault involving multiple officers. In another case, a young man was taken from a classroom after falling asleep during a lecture and was beaten severely. Teachers heard him screaming and crying for his mother.
About half of these teenagers have also been diagnosed with a mental illness and the correctional officers often neither have the inclination nor the training know how to handle mental health crises. This is a different situation than is happening elsewhere but it does speak to the idea that there is an institutionalized culture of violence on the part of the prison industrial complex which includes a militarized police presence and comprehensive reforms are absolutely needed on every level.