TYC Plan to Use Pepper Spray on Inmates Draws Criticism

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AUSTIN (AP) - A Texas Youth Commission proposal calls for guards to rely on pepper spray to subdue unruly juvenile prisoners.

That's angered justice advocates, who call the practice barbaric and regressive.

TYC officials say using pepper spray will reduce injuries to staff and inmates and lower workers' compensation claims. They say claims are the highest in the nation among youth prison systems.

Under current guidelines, TYC guards can use pepper spray only when the inmate is putting himself or others at risk and after "less restrictive interventions" have failed. These other interventions include reasoning with inmates and takedowns.