As COVID-19 spreads, advocates ask Pa. Supreme Court to release vulnerable youth from detention centers, jails

Lisa Gartner, Philadelphia Inquirer •

For two weeks, the 16-year-old was locked in a cell at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County, in what the staff called “quarantine" but looked and felt like solitary confinement.


Caleb Campbell of Upper Chichester was allowed out of the cell — where he was being held awaiting trial — just one hour each day. He could shower and make a phone call. That’s how he told his mother that he had been exposed to a staff member who may have COVID-19.


There was not enough soap or sanitizer at the jail to keep safe, Caleb said, and there were no masks for him to use as he cleaned the juvenile unit for $10 a shift.


About the Expert

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.

Jessica Feierman oversees Juvenile Law Center’s projects and programs. Feierman currently leads a national effort to end fines and fees in the juvenile justice system and is engaged in litigation aimed at eliminating solitary confinement and other abusive practices in juvenile facilities.

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