Editorial: Lawmakers need to revisit juvenile reforms


The Cleveland Plain Dealer



Ohio lawmakers need to revisit reforms enacted six years ago intended to protect juvenile defendants from harsh adult detention that have backfired by leaving judges with no flexibility to house dangerous juvenile offenders in more secure facilities.

Given the growing number of hardened violent youth offenders in cities like Cleveland, the Ohio General Assembly needs to revisit this issue urgently to give juvenile judges the discretion, once again, to place youth suspects in protected wings in adult jails for their own safety and that of other children.

The current situation — forcing juvenile judges to house murder suspects with young kids who’ve merely acted out at home in detention centers not designed for violent suspects — is a recipe for trouble.

This was underscored by the recent riot in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center in Cleveland when youths used metal table legs as weapons, endangering other juvenile residents, detention officers and the SWAT team called to quell the violence. If not corrected quickly, continued unnecessary risk to other youth and more security breaches at juvenile centers can be expected. …

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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