Child-Stealers and Prison Profiteers: A Case Study
By William Norman Grigg
“The Court, in its infinite wisdom, has committed your child, based on risk and needs.”
From the introductory video “Your Child Has Been Committed to The Juvenile Corrections System”
For reasons beyond his control, it had taken Donny* three attempts to complete his senior year in high school. On his twentieth birthday, Donny was three days from finishing the classwork necessary to graduate from the Rebound School of Opportunity in Meridian, Idaho. All he had left was to make an oral presentation of his senior report. He had already been offered a post-graduation job at Valley Truss, a local construction service and supply store.
At home, Donny’s father and mother, David and Norma, had prepared a party in honor of their oldest son’s birthday and his anticipated graduation. When they got home from school, Donny’s siblings, Larry and Sally*, were eager to celebrate with their older brother. But Donny didn’t come home from school that day. Just before classes ended, he was dragged away in handcuffs by his probation officer, Robert Youngkin and taken to the Ada County Jail, where he will remain until April 28.
Over the past six years, Donny has been incarcerated in a variety of institutions, from “treatment centers” in both Idaho and Utah to the Idaho Department Juvenile Corrections Center in Nampa. The juvenile facility in Nampa has become notorious for corruption and sexual exploitation of inmates by guards and other staff members.
In 2008, Donny pleaded guilty to charges of indecent exposure and battery as a result of an incident with his younger brother and sister that did not involve physical contact.
“Norma and I went to Papa Murphy’s to pick up some pizzas for dinner,” David recounted to Pro Libertate. “We were gone just a few minutes – not even a half hour – and we left Donny here in charge of the younger kids. He was 14 at the time, and he seemed able to handle things. Besides, it was just down the block.”
At the time, Sally was six years of age, and Larry was ten. When Dave and Norma returned, Sarah told them that Donny had “asked us to take our clothes off.”
“We were upset and worried, of course, and we tried to find out immediately what had happened,” Dave related. “As far as we could tell, it wasn’t as if he had abused the kids, or even touched them. It was a `You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine’ kind of thing, which is bad, and wrong, but it was not anywhere near as bad as we were afraid it might be.”
Still, out of an abundance of caution, and acting as conscientious parents, Dave and Norma decided to have their daughter examined.
“We took Sarah to the hospital right away, and she was fine,” Dave reports. However, the hospital visit resulted in a mandatory report to social workers and police, and Donny was in custody before his parents returned...
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