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Rapes, Beatings, Gangs - Parents Ask that VA Juvy Center be Shut Down

September 13, 2007

Beaumont, VA – Violence nearly every day. That's what parents of children sentenced to the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center say they hear is going on inside the prison walls, and they're demanding that the facility be shut down.

Their parents say the 260 children sentenced to terms at Beaumont face a life of rapes, beatings and gang violence. Lianne Rozell with Families and Allies of Virginia Youth has a son at the Center, who was beaten unconscious in July. She says it's a dangerous situation for children and does nothing to help them become productive members of communities.

"Beaumont in particular is ineffective. A staggering 69 percent of juveniles released are reconvicted of an offense."

Rozell says taxpayers spend $100 thousand each year per child in a juvenile justice center prison. She believes switching to a smaller, treatment-focused center would be more beneficial.

"We could spend less money, reduce reincarceration, and increase public safety, all the while saving money."

Rozell and other parents presented the Board of Juvenile Justice with evidence about the unsafe conditions. The Board Director will review the information before responding.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA