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Saturday, February 20, 2010

TV Time In Ohio Youth Prison: Kids Watch 'Vegas' Episode Showing Assault On Woman

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Prison staff was caught dealing sin from Sin City. And the state's Correctional Institution Inspection Committee wasn't happy when it walked in unannounced. The incident occurred at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, where the young inmates include juvenile sex offenders. Former State Rep. Tyrone Yates of Cincinnati was the panel's chair on the day of the surprise inspection. What happened in prison doesn't stay in prison; the 49-page report recently was posted online:

"During the inspection, youth were observed watching 'Las Vegas' on TV which depicted four youth assaulting a girl. Staff relayed that they use parental blocks on programs. The CIIC chairman [Yates] urged that television not be used as a babysitter, and that when used, that educational programming be provided such as National Geographic or the History Channel."

The inspection was last fall. Earlier this year, Yates became a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge. NBC cancelled Las Vegas in 2008 after a five year run. The episode shown at the prison must have been a re-run or from a video. The series was about the fictional Montecito Casino in Sin City. James Caan, and then Tom Selleck, played the casino's owner. Yates and the inspectors also raised questions about the use of classroom computers, where they found kids mixing sex and extreme profanity rather that the 3Rs:

"There is some concern that caution is needed that computers in the classrooms are not merely used as babysitters, but are used to their fullest potential as an instructional tool and delivery channel. Concern was expressed regarding the possible over reliance on education by computer, and perhaps inadequate presence and active involvement of a teacher. In one class, a student did not respond when kindly questioned about his work in progress, which appeared to be a narrative in which 99 percent of the words were extremely serious profanity . . .

"Another youth was writing about a movie that he reportedly watched the previous night, in which a child was raped by his uncle, and the youth later suffered confusion abut his own sexual identity. Hopefully, the movie was part of the sex offender treatment program."

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