Ohio Settles With D.O.J. Over Isolating Youth Inmates
The state of Ohio has settled with the federal government in a dispute over the use of solitary confinement as discipline for juvenile inmates with mental health disorders. The settlement follows the Department of Justice earlier this year seeking a court order to stop what it call Ohio's "rampant use" of seclusion to discipline boys with mental health issues. Federal prosecutors argued the practice violated the boys' due process rights by depriving them of education, exercise and mental health care, and caused them irrepairable harm. Youth prison officials said they only use seclusion as a last resort when some boys became violent. A proposed settlement filed in federal court in Columbus this week includes a state plan to improve mental health services and reduce seclusion of youth with mental health issues. Ohio's four youth prisons now house more than 400 boys and girls.