A class action civil rights complaint was filed December 7, 2010, alleging unconstitutional conditions at the Washington County Juvenile Center in Marietta, Ohio. Eight plaintiffs make allegations touching every aspect of facility life including,
- locking youth in cells for 23 hours per day;
- denying outdoor recreation to youth in detention;
- forcing many youth to wear leg shackles when they receive indoor recreation;
- requiring youth to wear suicide smocks as punishment;
- imposing punishment without due process;
- forcing youth to work at for profit businesses in the community without pay;
- arbitrarily extending program time for youth;
- requiring youth to engage in degrading activities such as cleaning an entire gymnasium with toothbrushes;
- ignoring, delaying and providing inappropriate treatment for medical conditions.
Plaintiffs seek damages and reforms at the Center. Attorney Al Gerhardstein states that, “These are very serious allegations made only after extensive interviews with youth who have served time in the Center and after reviewing their files. We have shared our concerns with the County representatives and we are encouraged by their commitment to promptly investigate the facts with us and determine if the claims can be resolved.” The case is filed in federal court in Columbus. The Plaintiffs and Defense counsel have joined in a request to the Court to assist the parties with expedited review of the facts and, if possible, an early mediation of the case.