Ohio Settles Suit Over Seclusions in Juvie

     CINCINNATI – The United States and Ohio reached a deal Wednesday for the state to dramatically reduce, and eventually eliminate, its use of seclusion of offenders in juvenile correctional facilities.
     Conditions at Ohio juvenile correctional facilities first drew an investigation by the Justice Department in 2007, and the state entered into a consent decree the next year after constitutional deficiencies were observed in the state’s use of physical force, mental health care, grievance investigation, and processing and use of seclusion.
     Though Ohio was supposed to remedy such violations at the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility and the since-closed Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility, the Justice Department said data revealed that unlawful seclusion on youth still occurred at Scioto and in the other facilities between November 2013 and January 2014.
     Such incidents also violated a 2008 consent decree that the state had entered into simultaneously with the private plaintiffs in the case S.H. v. Reed.
     The Justice Department included the alleged ongoing violations in a supplemental complaint against Ohio filed this past March.
     A settlement in the case struck Wednesday resolves the government’s demands for a temporary restraining order, as well as a motion for specific performance filed by the S.H. plaintiffs.
     The deal requires Ohio’s Department of Youth Services to ramp down the use of seclusion and ensure that juvenile offenders in its facilities receive individualized mental health treatment to prevent and address any behavioral conditions that lead to seclusion.
     Monitors in the existing U.S. and S.H. consent decrees will monitor the state’s compliance with the new deal.

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