Thursday, May 11, 2006

Katrina Teenagers in Detention

"More than 100 teenagers held in detention during Hurricane Katrina endured horrific conditions in the storm's aftermath, including standing for hours in filthy floodwater, having nothing to eat and drink for three to five days, and being forced to consume the waters as a result, according to a report released here Tuesday.

The report was prepared by the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, a group that has long advocated changes in the state's troubled juvenile system. It was based on interviews with more than 60 teenagers held at the Orleans Parish Prison during the storm, as well as with prison staff members. Youths who were interviewed described water rising in their darkened cells and a scramble onto top bunks to avoid it. They also said that when they were finally rescued — in some cases, after several days — they experienced dizziness and dehydration because of lack of food. One reported being "roped together" with plastic handcuffs as he and others were led out through neck-high water.

"There was food floating in the water and we tried to catch it and eat it; that's how hungry we were," said one 15-year-old identified as E. F. in the report." By Adam Nossiter, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 5-10-06 NVS)

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