Freedom Dorm. Sounds like a nice, hippie-ish, free loving place to live on some liberal college campus, no? Bard? Oberlin?
But no. Instead, Freedom Dorm is the name of a high-security youth detention facility in Texas that currently houses 150 girls (of the approximately 14,000 who are incarcerated on any one night). Freedom Dorm is no warm and fuzzy rehabilitate the kids and give them a second chance kind of place. Instead, according to an ACLU blog post today, it’s a prison at which girls are regularly locked in solitary confinement for minor infractions in cells that look something like this:
Despite the fact that the vast majority of girls incarcerated at Freedom Dorm (and likely at prison-like detention centers around the country) have been sexually or physically abused, strip searches are fairly common and psychiatric counseling is provided only by teleconference if at all.
Of course, this is nothing new in Texas, as Grits for Breakfast has thoroughly documented. The ACLU Women’s Rights Project has filed a lawsuit (complaint here) specifically challenging the use of strip searching and solitary confinement. Here’s hoping change is coming to Texas.