Father Fights Youth Prisons for Profit

May 13, 2011  |  

(The Root) — Mike McIntosh II, 21, used to be a vibrant athlete who loved doing kick flips on his skateboard, scoring goals on the soccer field and executing extreme bike tricks on his BMX. He was smart, too, studying welding at a community college, his father recalled recently.  “He was a sports fanatic,” the father, Michael McIntosh, 47, told The Root. “He used to work out with me, so I knew he was a strong kid, because I’m a former U.S. Marine.”  But now the 5-foot-8 youth of medium build is a shell of his former self, physically hobbled and brain damaged during a 2010 riot at Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, the private prison in Jackson, Miss., where he remains incarcerated, his father said. (The elder McIntosh declined to discuss the reason for the arrest that led to his son’s incarceration because of pending litigation.) McIntosh blames the prison for lack of supervision and a staff that flouts the law, engaging in abuse of young prisoners themselves.  “He drags his right leg when he walks now, and he’s just gaining use of his right arm,” McIntosh said. “He has brain damage. He can’t tell you what happened. He doesn’t remember things we talked about yesterday. It’s sad and torturous for me.”

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