Wisconsin Judge Condemns Solitary Confinement

Juvenile Law Center,
Karen Lindell, Jessica Feierman, Marsha Levick standing on court steps.

Juvenile Law Center legal team outside the Western District Court in Wisconsin. Left to right: Karen Lindell, Staff Attorney; Jessica Feierman, Associate Director; Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel.

Today in Wisconsin, Western District Judge Peterson found that the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray and restraints at two juvenile facilities violate kids’ constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The court stated that young people have a constitutional right to rehabilitation, and it was being thwarted by these practices.

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We originally filed the lawsuit in January on behalf of boys and girls held in Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls. Over the past two days, Juvenile Law Center and ACLU of Wisconsin, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, argued that children incarcerated at these two facilities needed immediate relief while their class action civil rights lawsuit moved forward.

During the hearing, the State acknowledged the severe harm solitary confinement causes youth and that the State has pepper sprayed boys and girls even while they are shackled or locked in cells. The court ordered both parties to propose the terms of a preliminary injunction to end the inhumane conditions and practices within two weeks of today’s order.

There's still more work to do - please donate now. Kids are counting on it.

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