Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Confined without charges, a teenager's ordeal reveals strains within Minnesota's juvenile correctional system


Katelin Ferrell, age 17, recalls sobbing uncontrollably while trying to block out the sound of five adults screaming orders just inches from her face.

Moments later, she says, staff at the Anoka County juvenile facility threw her to the floor, shackled her wrists and ankles, and left her isolated in her room. Not until the next day, Katelin says, was she finally taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, where she was treated for a broken orbital bone beneath her eye socket, burst blood vessels in both eyes and a concussion. “I have no idea what I did to deserve this,” said Katelin, her eyes still bloodshot and bruised a week after the incident.

Katelin, who has struggled with depression and behavioral problems since grade school, thought she and her mother would get help from county officials to find a “safe place,” a mental health facility where she could get professional therapy. Instead, like a growing number of Minnesota adolescents, she wound up in a county correctional facility, where staff often behave more like prison guards than therapists.


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