Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senate Human Rights Subcommittee Chairman Jon Ossoff is launching an inquiry into alleged abuse of youth in juvenile detention facilities in Georgia and nationwide.
Today, Chairman Ossoff launched an inquiry with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) into alleged abuse of youth in juvenile detention facilities and requested they review the state of federal oversight and conditions of incarceration at facilities nationwide.
“According to federal data, in 2019 about 36,000 juveniles were confined in more than 1,500 juvenile residential placement facilities across the United States,” Chairman Ossoff wrote. “State and local governments have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of juveniles in such facilities, however, the federal government also plays an important role.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 2022, multiple teenagers died in Georgia juvenile detention facilities in the span of just a few weeks. In addition, data from Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) found that between 2015 and 2018, 3,400 youths in custody were physically assaulted and over 150 were sexually assaulted by other juvenile detainees, according to another AJC investigation.
In addition, an investigation by The New York Times in 2022 highlighted allegations of gross mistreatment of youth in a state-operated juvenile detention facility in Louisiana, including numerous instances of physical abuse and sexual assault occurring over a 25-year period.
Sen. Ossoff continues working to conduct vigorous oversight of conditions of incarceration.
In 2022, Sen. Ossoff conducted multiple long-term investigations of the Federal prison system, including a 10-month bipartisan investigation into corruption, abuse, and misconduct at U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta; a 10-month bipartisan investigation into uncounted deaths in America’s prisons and jails; and an 8-month bipartisan investigation into sexual abuse of women in Federal prisons.
Last year, Chairman Ossoff also launched an inquiry with the Department of Justice into conditions of incarceration in Georgia and nationwide and later urged Attorney General Garland to investigate conditions at the Clayton County Jail.
Following the conclusion of his investigations, Sen. Ossoff has also introduced several pieces of bipartisan legislation.
In April 2023, Sens. Ossoff, Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act to establish new, independent oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
In July 2023, Sen. Ossoff and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the bipartisan Federal Prisons Accountability Act of 2023, which would make the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director a U.S. Senate-confirmed position.
Click here to read Chairman Ossoff’s inquiry with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
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