DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Does a client’s age factor into an attorney being sanctioned? Statistics say yes. A small fraction of attorneys are reprimanded any given year, but it’s much higher for lawyers representing teenage clients.

Laurel Kelly Young, an appellate attorney, said some lawyers push their young clients toward a guilty plea.

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“Each case really is different, you know, there are some counties that pay X amount for a plea deal and another amount for a trial. And dollar for dollar, you’re going to make more money by having your client plead guilty,” she said.

According to the organization Second Chances 4 Youth, 38 percent of all council representing youth sentenced to life without parole have been publicly sanctioned or disciplined by the Michigan Bar Association for egregious violations of ethical conduct.

Young adds that there are court appointed attorneys who care very much and give their teenage clients the best representation possible.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of juvenile prisoners against the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging rape and other abuses.

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“You’d be a fool to think nothing happens,” said Kenny Thornsberry, who served time in Jackson State Prison at age of 18. “The only time you’re safe is when they lock the doors and everyone is in their cell … you hear people fighting in the middle of the night – you hear screaming in the middle of the night – you hear things that you don’t really even know what they are.”

[Juveniles In Prison: Rape, Abuse Claims In Class Action Lawsuit Against The MDOC]

[‘I Don’t Want To Die In Here’ Says Woman Jailed Since Age 16]

[Juvenile Lifers: Michigan Ranks Among Top For Sentencing Teens To Life In Prison]

This week WWJ Newsradio 950 reporter Brooke Allen takes a look at juvenile offenders placed into the adult prison system.

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