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Dallas Teens Have Sex in Jail

by Edward B. Lyon

Juvenile males detained in the Medlock Youth Treatment Center began outcrying to therapists in April 2017 about sexual activities there. The lead outcrier reported multiple acts, including oral sex, spanning November-April 2017, including at least five 13-17 year-olds.

The center's staffing was critically low in the fall of 2017. To maintain the required 24-to-1 prisoner-to-guard ratio, up to 24 children slept in a multi-purpose common room two nights each week. As staffing shortages continued, this sleeping arrangement became commonplace.

When guards went on break, children would take advantage of those absences to have sex. The supervising guard's office was situated such that not all the children could be seen, and this was also exploited. So lax was overall supervision that detainees had sex while one guard sat with her back to them, while other guards read or played with their cell phones, while one watched sports on the supervisor's office TV, and during staff meetings.

To remedy this problem some detainees were transferred to a facility with single bunk cells. Supervisors promised disciplinary action against jailers who do not properly supervise detainees.


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