Freedom from Physical Abuse and Right to Mental Health Care in Juvenile Prisons

G.B. et al. v. Carrión et al.
09 cv 10582 (PAC)(FM)(SDNY)

Nature of Claims:The plaintiff children and the proposed class have sued the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, challenging the unconstitutional conditions of their confinement in juvenile facilities around New York State. These children are confined in the OCFS facilities after juvenile delinquency adjudications in Family Court, based upon acts that occurred when the children were aged 7-15. Although the placements are required to be rehabilitative, mental health services for the many young people with mental health needs are woefully inadequate, and children in the OCFS facilities are routinely subjected to the violent and harmful use of physical force at the hands of staff. The plaintiffs allege violations of their rights to due process of law and, for those with disabilities, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, and seek declaratory and injunctive relief against the Commissioner. The named plaintiffs have also sued individual OCFS staff members who inflicted violent physical force on them, seeking money damages.

Current Status:Plaintiffs’ Complaint was filed December 30, 2009.

No. Persons Affected:Approximately 500 children are confined in the OCFS residential facilities at issue at any given time, and hundreds more spend time in these facilities each year. The facilities at issue are all OCFS “limited secure” and “reception” centers, along with one facility recently designated “nonsecure.”

Reported decisions: None published. Papers available via ECF.

Read the Complaint.