RECENT NEWS: STEVE WAS RECENTLY HIRED BY THE FAMILY OF A 17 YEAR OLD MALE WHO SUSTAINED INJURIES, INCLUDING A FRACTURED LEFT WRIST, WHILE ALLEGEDLY BEING RESTRAINED BY THREE (3) TEACHERS AT THE NEW VISIONS ACADEMY IN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY, MARYLAND. WE WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED AS THIS CASE PROGRESSES.
Parents and judges send teenagers to youth boot camps when they’re in legal trouble or have severe behavioral problems that are starting to affect their futures. The idea is to put troubled teens back on the right path with “tough love,” a paramilitary environment, and sometimes hard labor. All too often however, that toughness goes too far, turning into physical abuse, neglect, verbal and emotional abuse, or even sexual molestation. Teens with real health complaints are accused of lying or ignored until it’s too late to stop their deaths. None of these behaviors are just discipline — they are abusive, illegal and a horrifying violation of the trust our society places in youth boot camp facilities. No matter what laws a teen has broken, he or she is entitled to medical care and an environment free of beatings, sexual assaults and constant belittling.
These problems are more common than you might think. A 2007 study by the U.S. General Accountability Office found thousands of complaints of abuse and neglect, and ten deaths since 1990, at privately-run juvenile “boot camps.” The study found that since most states don’t regulate private camps at all that many of the people responsible for these serious misdeeds simply change the names of their programs and move to another state. Among public facilities, the State of Florida ended its juvenile boot camp programs altogether in 2006 after guards were caught on tape severely beating a 14-year-old who later died. In Texas, guards at a state-run juvenile facility systematically molested thirteen boys, threatening to extend their sentences if they didn’t agree to sex with the guards.
And here in Maryland, seventeen-year-old Isaiah Simmons III died on Jan. 23, 2007, after being improperly restrained for more than three hours by seven counselors from Bowling Brook Preparatory School. Staffers at the private residential facility where Simmons was sent by the State of Maryland’s juvenile justice program, delayed CPR and waited 41 minutes after Simmons lost consciousness to call 911. They accused him of pretending to sleep — despite his insistence that he couldn’t breathe with counselors sitting on his body. The school has since closed, and six counselors were indicted. Steven H. Heisler is proud to serve as the attorney for Isaiah Simmons’ family.
Experts believe that abuse at youth boot camps and other juvenile facilities is severely underreported, in part because adults don’t always believe complaints from a kid with a checkered past. But when abused teens and their families do step forward, they have the power to stop this systematic victimization through a youth boot camp lawsuit. All facilities to which we entrust our children owe them a reasonable standard of care, including medical care and humane treatment. Failure to provide those things is a violation of victims’ legal rights. A juvenile boot camp lawsuit can help raise the public’s awareness of the problem, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for injured victims and send a strong message that institutional child abuse won’t be tolerated.
If you and your family are considering legal action against an abusive youth boot camp, you should contact attorney Steven H. Heisler. Steven H. Heisler exclusively represents victims of serious injuries. Heisler has extensive experience in juvenile abuse cases, including cases of improper restraint, juvenile facility abuse and deaths and juvenile boot camp deaths. He aggressively and thoroughly investigates each case, while providing personal service that’s sensitive to the needs of teens and families who were mistreated by the system.
If you or someone you love has been injured, it only makes sense to call the law office of Steven H. Heisler for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Bootcamp Abuse Case Results
Case Type: Bootcamp Abuse Wrongful Death
Steve and co-counsel represented the family of a teenage boy who died when several school counselors at the Youth facility he attended forcibly restrained him in a prone position for several hours, causing him to suffocate. The case settled in mediation for 1.2 million dollars.