It's no exaggeration to say that when teenagers are placed in adult prison, horror results. Huffington Post reporter Dana Liebelson investigated the ongoing abuses in her hard-hitting new story, "Cruel And All-Too-Usual."
"The adult system is not designed in any way, shape or form to treat children, to rehabilitate children, or to recognize that children are different than adults," an American Civil Liberties Union advocate told Liebelson.
Within the juvenile justice system, staff receive special training on how to deal with younger prisoners, and the youthful inmates have access to appropriate education and counseling. Rarely is that true in adult prisons. And when the kids are beaten and tortured by prison guards and other inmates, that abuse can have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives.
Last month, Kalief Browder, who suffered through two years of solitary confinement at New York's infamous Rikers Island, killed himself. He was 21 years old.
Historically, the juvenile justice system was designed specifically to acknowledge the fact that children are different from adults and thus require different treatment. Young people, for example, have a much better chance of being rehabilitated than adults do.
However, as Liebelson found, America's prison system does a poor job of enforcing this distinction. Far too many children end up incarcerated alongside adults. In 2013, nearly 6,000 kids were being held in adult prisons.
You can help by signing a petition from CREDO Action asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch an immediate investigation into this problem.
And if you haven't done so, be sure to read and share Liebelson's article -- which is part of HuffPost Highline, our new initiative dedicated to compelling long-form journalism.