The nonprofit law firm Columbia Legal Services has inked a settlement with King County to ban the use of solitary confinement for most juvenile inmates, the organization announced Monday.
The case was brought by four young people who had been imprisoned at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington. It challenged the use of solitary confinement, as well as the lack of educational services.
King County will work with Columbia Legal Services to create new policies around the use of solitary, has agreed to an independent monitor and will pay the youths a total of $215,000, as well as $25,000 in attorneys’ fees.
Solitary confinement involves being left in a cell with few activities if any, according to the press release. The detrimental impacts of such isolation have been documented, and the effects are worse on children.
“If our goal is rehabilitation, we must treat children as children,” said Travis Andrews, juvenile justice policy analyst with Columbia Legal Services. “If our goal is truly zero youth detention, we must take real and lasting steps in that direction.”
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Check out the full Aug. 22 - Aug. 28 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.