Letter to the Editor: The Trouble With Halfway Houses

By Lovisa Stannow, New York Times
June 22, 2012

To the Editor:

Your exposé on conditions inside the Albert M. “Bo” Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center (“Poorly Staffed, a Halfway House in New Jersey Is Mired in Chaos,” “Unlocked” series, front page, June 18) serves as a chilling reminder of the high rates of sexual abuse and lack of accountability that plague American detention facilities.

At the New Jersey halfway house, as in many prisons and jails across the country, oversight is virtually nonexistent. As a result, known sexual predators are allowed to continue abusing inmates, sometimes for years.

Fortunately, last month the Justice Department, after a delay of nearly two years, passed national standards to eliminate sexual abuse in detention and hold facilities to account for this type of violence.

The standards, which apply to halfway houses as well as to prisons and jails, detail concrete steps to protect inmates, including staff training and external audits.

If enacted, the new regulations will prevent future scandals, and spare countless people from the devastation of sexual abuse.

Executive Director
Just Detention International
Los Angeles, June 19, 2012

Original post: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/opinion/the-trouble-with-halfway-houses.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss