In Maricopa County, juvenile offenders are often incarcerated in adult jails. Juveniles who are charged as adults spend time in adult facilities before they have even been convicted of a crime.
Juveniles in Adult Jails
In the Lower Buckeye Jail in Maricopa County, there are typically around 70 inmates that are juveniles at any given time, usually between the ages of 15 and 17. They’re also usually Hispanic. These juveniles are not supposed to see or hear adult prisoners, which means that the prison staff has to make a huge effort to separate them from the rest of the prison’s population.
According to one of the juvenile offenders, Dallas Wyatt, this is not accomplished very effectively. Wyatt has stated that he has come into contact with adult prisoners on several occasions, although he never felt threatened. Nevertheless, advocates point out that adults influence youth in powerful, unspoken ways. Being surrounded by incarcerated adults, some of whom are repeat offenders, can prove problematic for incarcerated youth who could benefit from rehabilitation.
Wyatt represents another problem with the judicial system in Maricopa County besides the fact that he’s a juvenile imprisoned in an adult prison. He was charged with a crime when he was 16 and spent two years in Lower Buckeye Jail awaiting trial before he was transferred to another adult prison, the Towers Jail in Phoenix.
Additionally, juveniles who are incarcerated in adult prisons here in Maricopa County are not receiving accredited education services. For juvenile inmates like Wyatt, who has been incarcerated for two years, this poses a serious problem when they are released since they will be far behind their peers academically, making it more difficult for them to integrate back into society.
If you’re in need of a juvenile defense attorney, contact Garcia Law today. No matter what the charges, we will fight for the best interests of the child.