The Schubert Center commends many of the reform efforts Judge Sweeney and her staff have undertaken, including key leadership and staffing changes; nevertheless, it is evident they require more resources to more effectively meet the needs of these vulnerable youth. We understand that there is a question about the adequacy of the 1:12 staff-youth ratio. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) national standard requires 1:8 staffing in juvenile facilities during waking hours, a ratio which is also recognized by other juvenile professional organizations in their detention standards. Clearly, best practice supports the need for JDC to have adequate funding for appropriate staffing of minimally a 1:8 ratio during waking hours. Moreover, the JDC staff should see the value in their work and the investment by our community in addressing the challenges of our young people. Keep in mind that the majority of children in the JDC are being held prior to any adjudication and come with any number of life struggles – they deserve to be cared for as we would want to for any of our children.
November 12, 2019