OREGON YOUTH AUTHORITY TAKES STEPS TO REDUCE ROOM CONFINEMENT
The agency doesn’t put disruptive young people in isolation. Instead, OYA staff created “in between” spaces, like STEPS, where a kid can go to cool down and have therapy without being in isolation. STEPS (Stop, Think, Explore, Plan) is not considered punishment. Read more about STEPS.
REPORTS OF SOLITARY IN NORCOR FACILITY IN OREGON
In December, 2017, Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) released a report documenting solitary confinement and other harmful conditions for children as young as 12 years old in the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR). NORCOR, located in the Dalles, OR, operates both an adult facility and a separate youth detention facility. The facility contracts with 17 Oregon counties, some Washington counties, the Oregon Youth Authority, and ICE to hold detained youth.
The report, “Don’t Look Around: A Window into Inhumane Conditions for Youth at NORCOR,” describes harsh and counterproductive disciplinary practices and solitary confinement under stark conditions. The reports states that conditions for youth at NORCOR are “harsher and more restrictive than any adult jail” DRO had visited. Punishment is often imposed for minor behavior violations such as talking or asking what time it is. Youth held at NORCOR are disproportionately youth of color, and these youth stay in custody longer, on average, than youth in other facilities. According to the report, NORCOR does not document the use and length of solitary confinement and there is no regulatory oversight of conditions and practices inside the facility.
After Disability Rights Oregon released the report, some counties refused to send youth to NORCOR until the alleged abuses are addressed. Oregon Youth Authority stopped sending youth to the facility. Wasco County issued a letter calling for an independent investigation into the facility.