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Gentler justice: Florida youth detention center enacts ‘homelike’ reforms

For many of the kids who come through the doors of the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Jacksonville, Florida, life has been tough, but it’s especially tough for the girls.

A 2014 study showed 31 percent of girls in Florida’s juvenile justice system have been sexually abused and 41 percent of girls have been physically abused.

“Girls experience trauma at a different frequency and different kinds of trauma than boys, girls react differently, and respond to that trauma differently,” Judge David Gooding of Fourth Circuit Court in Florida, told PBS NewsHour.

That’s why, in an effort not to traumatize them further, the center has tried to make an otherwise stark facility a little more comfortable. And officials say the reforms have led to big changes in the kids’ behavior.

NewsHour was recently granted rare access to film inside the detention center. Watch the video with NewsHour’s Megan Thompson above.

Watch the full report on programs in Jacksonville, Florida, that aim to rehabilitate rather than incarcerate delinquent girls.

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