16 July 2008

Indictments in AYA Colorado Youth Death

I am stunned and saddened. From the Montrose Daily Press: "Two organizations and three individuals are facing serious charges after a Montrose grand jury indicted them in the death of 15-year-old Caleb Jensen."

I wrote before that nobody comes out the better from charges in this case, and I stand by that now:

I sincerely hope that Caleb's death is seen for the tragic accident it was. Nothing will be gained from criminal action against those involved. I do not believe this is a case where justice can be meted out, where society will be safer when those involved are brought to trial or even incarcerated. AYA is done. Public funded wilderness therapy is, by and large, a dinosaur. With all appropriate empathy for the family of Caleb Jensen, and with full acknowledgment that I can't begin to fathom their loss, I fail to see what can be gained from criminal proceedings. Similarly, while the state of Colorado has a responsibility to monitor and regulate youth programs statewide, there is little to suggest that criminal consequences for those involved will help make future conditions safer for wards of the state.

My heart goes out to the family of Caleb Jensen, and to the other families, some of whom I know, who are deeply affected by this continuing tragedy.