Victoria Law @ Rewire. Excerpt below:
Instead, after conferring with Bresha [Meadows] and the attorneys in her chambers, the juvenile court judge announced that Bresha will be transferred to an adolescent treatment facility for a mental health evaluation.
…In an earlier interview with Rewire, Erin Davies, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition, stated that the average length of pre-trial detention for juvenile cases is ten to 12 days and, for youth facing adult charges, six months. She also noted the long-lasting effects of detention on young people, including depression and other adverse mental health consequences.
Ian Friedman, Bresha’s attorney, called the day “really strong and encouraging.” He noted that the facility will be much more comfortable and offer more counseling and mental health services than juvenile detention.
Bresha won’t be allowed to come and go from the facility, said her aunt, Martina Latessa, but she anticipates that her niece will be allowed more freedom. Both she and Friedman told Rewire that Bresha is excited about the change.
“She said, ‘I wanna go. I want to talk to someone,’” Latessa, who was able to visit her niece after the hearing, told Rewire.
Though there may be restrictions placed on Bresha, given her charges and pending court date, Latessa said that she will be allowed to wear her own clothes and to go outside, neither of which she can now do in juvenile detention.
“‘I’ll be able to walk around outside. I’ll be able to lay in the grass,’” Latessa recalled her niece saying. In addition, she may be able to receive visits from her older brother and sister, who were not allowed to visit at the detention facility; Friday was the first time Bresha had laid eyes on them since her July arrest.
However, Bresha’s family will have to pay for her stay, which Latessa admits will be a challenge. She says one month at the facility costs more than what she makes in three months. But, she added, “for her well-being, there’s never a price tag.”
Though the change will allow Bresha more movement, supporters point out that she’ll still be confined. “Being sent to a ‘treatment facility’ where she’s not free to come and go means she’s still in jail for all intensive purposes,” said Mariame Kaba in a phone interview with Rewire. Kaba, who is a member of #SurvivedAndPunished, a coalition supporting abuse survivors who have been criminalized or incarcerated, and the #FreeBresha campaign, continued, “Since she’s been arrested, we’ve been calling for the charges against her to be dropped, for her to be able to go home to her family and heal from the trauma, which has been compounded by incarceration.”