detention centers

Vermont has joined 18 other states and the District of Columbia in seeking relief for immigrant children held in detention centers at the southern border.

Plattsburgh Close the Camps protester
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At noon on Tuesday, people came out in cities across the country and rallied near congressional representatives’ offices for a unified Close The Camps protest.  In Burlington, Vermont people thronged to Church Street to march to the offices of Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders.  Across Lake Champlain, people gathered at the Plattsburgh Government Center lawn.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.

Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.

In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue.

One in three American children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that defy everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders.

In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults.