(#37) The Pit

Continuing the previous stage, we see the biblical Joseph, who’d been sold into servitude at age 17, in prison: “And So Joseph’s master had him put in prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined…” Gen 39:20

“and he put him in jail.” This is a kind of underground prison, a dungeon, a place where the mentally ill are kept nowadays (author’s time). These prisons have a small hole on top through which the prisoners are brought in and a little daylight is seen….The expression is similar…to the word used to describe the source of light in Noah’s ark.

— Rabbi Bahya ben Asher, 1255-1340, Spain (c.1290-c.1310 CE)

Jenny Egan, chief juvenile counsel for the Maryland Public Defenders, speaking to Eddie Conway, for Rattling the Bars:

Jenny Egan: So the juvenile detention centers as they were before COVID-19 are filled mostly with low level offenders. So according to the Department of Juvenile Services, 74% of kids committed to its care, so those kids who are in youth prisons or youth placements, 74% of them are there for nonviolent felonies, misdemeanor offenses or technical violations of probation. And that’s true of 58% of kids in Department of Juvenile Services run youth jails or juvenile jails. And so what is happening for those children as COVID-19 has taken over is that many of them have been exposed. DJS has confirmed 13 cases in its 13 facilities, but that’s only what’s been confirmed. There has not been [inaudible 00:02:00] testing, so we don’t know how many kids are actually sick or who have been exposed.

For those children who have been exposed to positive staff members or other positive children, they’re being put in solitary confinement. They’re being locked in their cells 23 and a half, sometimes 24 hours a day. Children as young as 10 and 11 years old are being put in solitary confinement allegedly for their own protection.

— “Solitary Confinement Used for Children as Young as 11,” The Real News Network, 5/5

See Also “Solitary, Brawls, no Teachers…” from the Marshall Project, 5/12/20

and story on Maryland releasing roughly 1/3 of juveniles in late April

For more and to take action, visit Interfaith Action for Human Rights and ACLU — juvenile justice.

About the Author
Virginia blogs on Jewish topics at "A Song Every Day" and manages the Education Town Hall and #WeLuvBooks sites. More at Vspatz.wordpress.com

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