State Agrees To End Pepper Spray, Solitary At Youth Prison

Todd Tichmond, Miami Herald •

The ACLU, Juvenile Law Center and the Quarles and Brady law firm brought a separate lawsuit in January 2017 on behalf of four inmates seeking improvements at the prison, including limits on the use of pepper spray solitary confinement and mechanical restraints.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson ordered the DOC last June to curtail the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray and shackles. The ACLU argued later that year that the use of pepper spray increased following the order and inmates were rotated between different types of confinement, exposing them to the "same intolerable conditions entailed in punitive solitary confinement."

The settlement still needs Peterson's approval. It's unclear when he may consider it.

Under the agreement, guards would be prohibited from using pepper spray beginning a year after approval. The number of days inmates could be confined to solitary confinement for rules violations would also be pared down — from seven to three to none — within 10 months of the settlement taking effect. Inmates could still be placed in solitary if they pose a risk to others but beginning six months after settlement approval they couldn't be held for more than 12 hours.

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