Today, PEF leadership walked in solidarity with PEF members and our Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) brothers and sisters in a picket line at the state Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS) in Rensselaer, demanding a safe workplace at Brookwood Secure Center for juvenile detention in Claverack.
The appalling lack of security measures and disingenuous hands-off treatment philosophy at Brookwood has most recently resulted in both injured state employees and juveniles at the facility. Unfortunately, unchecked violence is commonplace in OCFS run centers. The recent attacks at Brookwood, as well as an increase in violence at the Highland facility, has become the norm for juvenile detention centers in New York state rather than the exception. It is indicative of the long-standing safety issues that PEF has raised with OCFS and the Legislature during the past several years.
Policies that ignore consequences for the violent behaviors of incarcerated youth have created a workplace of fear where no real rehabilitation can take place. The result is just another pathway to prison for these youth. This is an injustice to the workers, to the youth and to our communities. PEF demands more accountability, safety for staff and residents, and true youth rehabilitation. I will be going to both facilities to discuss these issues with PEF members and union leaders to ensure that the governor and OCFS management have addressed these urgent concerns.