Palm Beach County Sued For Putting Kids in Solitary (2018)

A class action lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and the Human Rights Defense Center in Lake Worth reports that children as young as 16-years-old were kept in solitary in an adult county jail for periods as long as 18 months without exercise, education, or treatment. Although the youth in question were held in the adult county jail because they were charged as adults, they were awaiting trail, meaning they had not been found guilty of anything.

In addition to the Palm Beach Sheriff, the suit names the County School Board as a defendant for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to provide legally required educational services to youth in solitary. The lawsuit focuses on males in solitary, as females under age 18 charged as adults are kept in the jail’s medical unit.


SB 812, or the Youth in Solitary Confinement Reduction Act,  would have prohibited the Department of Corrections or a local facility from subjecting a youth to solitary confinement except under certain circumstances; prohibited youth from “emergency: cell confinement for more than 24 hours; prohibited a youth prisoner from being subjected to disciplinary cell confinement for more than 72 hours. The bill died in the Criminal Justice Committee in 2013.