Violence is escalating at the Bronx city’s juvenile detention center after a new state law keeps more suspected murderers under age there.
In the fiscal year ended June 30, there were 257 assaults by juveniles on juveniles at the Horizon Juvenile Center in Mott Haven — nearly doubling the 135 incidents for the same period in fiscal 2021, according to City Administration for Children’s Services data.
Attacks on staff by inmates increased 17% from 128 to 150 over the same period.
Under the Raise the Age Act approved by the Albany Legislature, the city transferred incarcerated 16- and 17-year-olds from Rikers Island and other city jails to Horizon through the end of 2019. Another ACS-managed location, Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn, then joined Horizon by accommodating 16- and 17-year-olds.
In the past fiscal year, 132 of the 1,197 juveniles who spent time at Horizon and Crossroads or both were charged with murder or attempted murder, according to ACS. That’s up from 92 in fiscal 2021, when 909 passed through both prisons, and 86 in fiscal 2019, when 1,563 were housed.
Among the accused killers and notorious teenagers who have recently spent time at both facilities are Zyairr Davis and Camrin Williams.
Davis was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention after he caught a plea deal for his role as a 13-year-old in a botched heist that led to the death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors in 2019.
Williams was accused of accidentally shooting an NYPD officer during a scuffle in the Bronx earlier this year. The 17-year-old gangbanger, who goes by the stage name C-Blu, dropped gun and assault charges against him without explanation in May but was arrested again by police in September for carrying a loaded fireman.
Horizon and Crossroads can hold up to 106 prisoners each, and Crossroads monitors all the girls in the system.
Unlike Rikers Island and other adult prisons, teenagers in both prisons live in more comfortable dormitories — not in cells behind bars. During the day their rooms are not locked, they go to school and take part in other programs.
In fiscal 2019, while still under Justice Department control, Horizon reported 244 assaults by juveniles on juveniles and only 56 assaults by employees.
Steve J. Martin, a court-appointed federal monitor who oversees troubled Rikers Island and also has some oversight of Horizon, found that the youth facility is riddled with violence – and suggested in an October report that staff often do not intervene because they fear for their lives.
ACS employees “were reluctant to intervene physically, even when objectively necessary,” and “explain their reluctance to be driven primarily by fear for their own safety and sometimes a lack of trust in their employee partner,” Martin wrote.
ACS agreed to give the Monitor some control over Horizon.
Violent attacks at Crossroads increased across the board from fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2020, but since then there has been a steady decline despite an increase in incarceration numbers. During the fiscal year ended June 30, there were 210 assaults by juveniles on juveniles and 144 assaults on employees.
ACS spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman said, “The safety of youth and staff at Horizon Juvenile Center remains a top priority.”
“Much progress has been made since the signing of the voluntary agreement with the US [Rikers] monitored, and we are committed to driving this progress, including by recruiting and retaining highly qualified and dedicated staff, adding educational and career programs, reducing the length of stay for juveniles in detention, and improving security at the facility.” said Kaufman.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/17/attacks-at-bronx-horizon-juvenile-center-on-the-rise/ Attacks on Bronx Horizon Juvenile Center escalate