Justice for Cornelius! Shut Sequel Down

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Last week, 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks died after being restrained for throwing a sandwich at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, MI, which is run by the national for-profit company Sequel Youth and Family Services.  

Such egregious use of force and tragic loss of life is appalling and is part of a pattern and practice of abuse that spans facilities and warrants immediate shut down. Most notably, Cornelius's case echoes harms at Clarinda Academy in Iowa and Red Rock Canyon School in Utah, which resulted in facility closure. No other kid should suffer, while Sequel profits off of warehousing and restraining youth.  

In the United States, profiting off of youth incarceration has become widespread, with almost half of the youth facilities in the country privately operated.  Kids are often shipped across state lines to receive "therapeutic services," yet in reality suffer bullying, restraint, and abuse. We know from nationwide data that youth of color are more likely to be removed from their homes and placed in these types of facilities despite similar rates of offending. We must stop warehousing youth and subjecting youth of color to these harmful conditions.

Cornelius's death at a Sequel facility highlights the harms faced by youth at for-profit facilities.  Years of experience with for-profit juvenile and adult facilities shows privatization often leads to a variety of harmful outcomes such as: dangerous conditions, incentives to incarcerate kids longer, and prioritizing profits over public safety.

We must prioritize youth over profit.  Cornelius should be with us today.  Help get justice for Cornelius by calling on Governor's to get kids immediately out of the Kalamazoo facility and shut Sequel facilities down.  Sequel can not be trusted to house one more youth.