Youth Services problems won’t go away

Published 10:29 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

This just in from the nationally renowned organization, “Lawyers Who Make You Want To Puke In Your Mouth.”

Hang in there with me for a few minutes. I’m about to defend a system I despise.

Sort of.

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The Ohio Department of Youth Services, which is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, is being sued yet again for violating the “rights” of its youth.

This time, zealous attorneys looking for fast bucks at the state’s expense are claiming that violent youth shouldn’t be denied an education within the prison system, no matter the nature of their offenses while behind bars.

In the claim, the state is responsible for providing an education to “youth” who pose a risk to their teachers and their classmates.

Basically, it says our state is responsible for adhering to the “rights” of “youth” who continually threaten and inflict physical harm on others.

Note: There is no mention in the claim about the safety of DYS teachers, other inmates or corrections officers.

And while we’re on this “rights” thing: If you take them from somebody else, do you deserve them for yourself? At best, shouldn’t you have to earn them back, even as a “youth”?

Citing a 2004 lawsuit that effectively erased the term “juvenile corrections” from the Ohio vocabulary and created “kiddy jail,” these lawyers claim that their clients deserve the rights afforded to all American citizens.

By substantiating these claims, all for the almighty dollar, mind you, all they are really doing is creating future criminals and ensuring a prolonged problem.

There is absolutely no thought put into rehabilitating these kids. It’s a powerful man’s greed operating under the guise of protecting innocent children to make some big cash.

I can’t be the only one who sees a problem with this.

Youth in the DYS system may not be “youth” at all. The state can incarcerate these offenders, who have committed in adolescence what would have been a felony in adulthood, until their 21st birthday.

To gain admission into the DYS system, the “youth” has continually thumbed his nose at his local authorities.

He’s not living behind barbed wire, cut off from society, because he egged somebody’s car. He raped a toddler. He shot someone. He’s a repeated nuisance to those in his community.

Except for grave crimes like murder, he didn’t end up in DYS based on his first offense. Through repeated crimes, showing no respect for authority, he’s exhausted the patience of his county judge, who, out of options, sent him to DYS.

Under the current system, you wouldn’t want any of these kids living in your neighborhood upon release. They arrive as gang bangers with anti-social ideals. And if they don’t arrive this way, that’s all they soon learn. Our system makes them worse!

Why is that? Because we got sued, lost, and we don’t want it to happen again.

So, now we bend over backwards to accommodate so-called children’s activist groups who, down to a member, would never subject themselves to working with these “kids” on a daily basis.

They just like making Pollyanna rules that don’t apply in the real world.

Now, lawyers sniffing for easy cash have decided that since the system is broken and lawsuits are a plenty, they’ll swoop in too.

“All we have to do is create a new angle,” they say.

And here we are. Taxpayers forking over funds to feed a bureaucracy fueled by those who throw money at problems to make them go away.

But these problems won’t go away.

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at