Filed Date: April 14, 2022
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This is a case about the alleged constitutional violations of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (the “Department of Juvenile Justice”) against the children in their custody at the Broad River Road Complex. These violations include not preventing fights among youths, staff harming children by using excessive force (such as choking, punching, kicking, and twisting arms), and isolating youth for minor indiscretions.
On April 14, 2022 the United States, represented by attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The United States sued the Department of Juvenile Justice under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 34 U.S.C. § 12601. The United States sought a declaration that the conduct violated the Fourteenth Amendment and to enjoin the Department of Juvenile Justice from continuing those acts. The case was assigned to Judge Sherri A Lydon, then reassigned to Judge Joseph F. Anderson, then finally reassigned to Judge Mary Geiger Lewis.
On the same day the complaint was filed, April 14, 2022, the parties filed a joint motion for conditional dismissal pursuant to their settlement agreement. The agreement does four things. First, it seeks to protect children in the Department of Juvenile Justice’s custody from harm by: ensuring sufficient staffing, adding surveillance, providing structured programming, having appropriate consequences for negative behaviors, and limiting use of force. Next, it limits the Department’s isolation policy to permit isolation only when youth poses a serious and immediate danger to self or others and staff has made reasonable efforts to attempt and exhaust de-escalation strategies. It also updates training to focus on behavior management and reducing use of force. Finally, it provides a quality assurance system to identify trends and correct deficiencies with regard to safety and security. According to the settlement agreement, these changes must be made within four years. The agreement will terminate in five years if there is substantial compliance and that compliance is maintained for one year.
On April 20, 2022, the case was dismissed without prejudice. Per the settlement agreement, the Court retained jurisdiction for reinstatement to resolve claims of material breach of the agreement.
Michelle Landry (6/15/2022)
Last updated Aug. 5, 2022, 3:22 a.m.
State / Territory: South Carolina
Filing Date: April 14, 2022
Case Ongoing: Yes
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Order Duration: 2022 - None
Type of Facility: