Roughly 54,000 kids are locked up in youth detention centers each night across the America. Thousands more are housed in adult jails and prisons. Kid prisoners are often warehoused in remote towns, with little contact from the outside world.
As the nation that leads the world in locking up kids, America has dotted its landscapes with juvenile detention facilities — with a hefty price tag. We spend $8 billion a year to put kids behind bars.
Few of us have to face the realities of kid prisons. The majority of children locked up are have committed non-violent offenses. Solitary confinement is routinely used as punishment. An estimated 70 percent of the kids inside detention centers have diagnosed mental disorders, and 30 percent have attempted suicide while on the inside.
Here are 12 images, collected by our friends at the Daily Overview, that help put into perspective where America locks up its children.
Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, Highland Hills, Ohio
This facility in Ohio holds only boys, who attend middle and high school within the prison complex. Kid prisoners in Ohio spent an average of 306 hours in solitary confinement in 2011. The state has since announced sweeping reforms to end the practice.
Decker Lake Youth Center, West Valley City, Utah
This facility is located on the shores of Decker Lake in West Valley City, Utah, a town of 134,000 people. Utah arrested nearly 20,000 kids in 2012, according to FBI data.
Duval Academy, Jacksonville, Florida
This facility is owned and operated by Youth Services International, a Florida-based private prison company that has managed to stay open despite numerous reports of abuse and neglect.
Gainesville State School, Gainesville, Texas
Texas has more prisoners and prisons than any other state. By 2014, Texas had 24 percent more prisoners than the No. 2 state, more populous California. Many cities in Texas have struck deals with private prison companies. A few Texas towns, like Willacy, Texas, have found themselves in tremendous debt after the prison deals went sour. The state arrested 124,072 children in 2012, according to FBI data.
Juvenile Corrections Center St. Anthony, St. Anthony, Idaho
This facility is one of three youth facilities in the state and is Idaho’s largest. It holds approximately 140 kids at capacity. 11,274 kids were arrested in the state in 2012, according to FBI data.
Juvenile Detention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
This youth detention facility, in Las Vegas, is surrounded by baseball fields, a family pool, apartment buildings, and a massive golf course. Nevada arrested 16,289 kids in 2012, according to FBI data.
Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility, Ocala, Florida
This detention facility is situated next to a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a shopping mall. In Florida, where this facility is located, more than half of the children in prison are black. Less than a quarter of the state’s children are black.
Marvin Foote Youth Service Center, Centennial, Colorado
This detention center is located next door to the county courthouse and the Denver Broncos’ football team training facility. Colorado arrested 32,048 children in 2012, according to FBI data.
Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Correctional Center, West Palm Beach, Florida
This 118-bed residential facility for boys is adjacent to the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. In 2012, Florida decided to privatize all state-run youth prisons to save money.
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, Camarillo, California
This all-girls facility is surrounded by farmland in Ventura County. California arrested 120,891 kids in 2012, according to FBI data.
Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, Walnut Grove, Mississippi
Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that this youth facility “has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk.” A 2012 report by the Justice Department about the Mississippi facility, which was run by the global private prison company The GEO Group, described incidents in which adult staff had sex with child prisoners, guards were discovered to have had gang affiliations, and staff members brutally beat juvenile prisoners. The GEO Group gave up its Mississippi holdings the following year. The prison is now run by Management and Training Corporation (MTC), a smaller private prison operator with multiple high-profile riots at other facilities this year. One two-day uprising led by low-security immigrant inmates in South Texas destroyed a facility.
Wolverine Secure Treatment Center, Saginaw County, Michigan
This facility is a private juvenile detention facility and charter school in Buena Vista Township, run by Wolverine Human Services. Michigan arrested 27,133 kids in 2012, according to FBI data.
All images provided by the Daily Overview.