Mom says son was better off at Rikers than at Horizon Juvenile Facility

Teens were transferred out of the Rikers Island jail complex to the Horizon Juvenile Facility in the Bronx, but the mom of one teen now at Horizon believes her son was better off at Rikers.

The mother spoke with PIX11 on the condition of anonymity, she doesn't want anyone inside Horizon to retaliate against her 17-year-old son. His teen years have been spent in and out of courts and jail. She believes on Rikers Island he had access to more libraries and programs. The mom also said visits have been difficult at Horizon after several miscommunications.

"Nobody wants their child to be locked away, but what you want most of all,  is that if they are, that they are being treated as a person," she said.

She isn't the only worried parent. Jimmey DeMoss, a single father from Queens, also has a 17-year-old son at Horizon.

“He’s in there to learn a lesson, but the lesson I think he's learning is the wrong lesson,” DeMoss told PIX11 News.

When Demoss first went to see his son at Horizon he was worried about basic services; he thought his son needed a haircut, a clean uniform and more classes. When DeMoss returned last Sunday, he saw improvements and is optimistic.

“The transition is a brand new transition it takes time,” he said.

The Administration for Children's Services responded to the parents concern.

“We are in a transitionary period for a historic reform that’s never been done before," a spokesperson said. "Additional safety measures have been put in place at the new facility, and incidents have decreased. Everyone – youth and staff alike—is adjusting to the new environment.”