ACLU of Washington Sues County to Stop Solitary for Kids

GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY SUED FOR REPEATEDLY KEEPING KIDS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has brought a lawsuit against Grays Harbor County, alleging that16-year old M.D. was held in solitary confinement multiple times totaling 75 days, almost always as punishment for “bad behavior.” Read the complaint. Between 2013 and 2016, M.D. was repeatedly held in Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility for minor probation violations. He was held in a padded cell or isolation room for at least 23 hours a day with only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. M.D. was not permitted visits from his mother and, on at least one occasion, was held in a room, “spattered with food and blood, with a feces-covered grate over a hole in the ground to use for a toilet.” Read the ACLU’s Press Release.

This is not the first time that the county has been called out for subjecting children to solitary confinement. In December 2016, the ACLU sued the county for production of records and policies following reports that a 15-year-old boy was placed in solitary confinement at the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility for eight days in 2015. Two directors from the county’s juvenile detention facility were suspended  after the child was kept in isolation and “only allowed out of his cell to shower and for one hour of recreation per day.” In 2015, the Grays Harbor County commissioners agreed to settle the public records lawsuit and the records request was eventually filled by the county.

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