On August 17, 1984, minor children held for treatment at the Idaho State Youth Services Center (YSC) submitted their First Amended Class Action Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against those State officials who had authority relative to YSC, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. The plaintiffs, represented by Idaho Legal Aid, the Youth Law Center, and the National Center for Youth Law (both of San Francisco, California), asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that conditions and practices at the YSC violated their First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that disciplinary practices were excessive, cruel, and unusual; living conditions were unsanitary and unsafe; there were inadequate attempts to rehabilitate the juveniles; there was no meaningful classification or assessment system for incoming inmates; defendants failed to use federal funds to ensure basic education programs pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; visitation and communication with family and attorneys were heavily restricted; and medical and mental health screening and provisions were inadequate.
On January 25, 1983, counsel for plaintiffs wrote to the Superintendent of the Idaho YSC alleging that its policies and practices were unlawful. The Director of the Department of Health and Welfare (DOH) was notified on March 15, 1983; and the State Attorney General was notified on March 25, 1983. On April 4, 1983, the Director of DOH appointed a five member review committee to investigate plaintiffs' allegations. On August 15, 1983, the committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Director of DOH.
On February 28, 1984, plaintiffs' counsel notified defendants of their intention to file suit immediately. Soon after, defendants agreed to resolve the dispute with a settlement agreement if plaintiffs would postpone filing their Complaint until a complete agreement was reached. On March 11, 1984, a final draft of the Settlement Agreement was constructed by plaintiffs' counsel. The draft contained comprehensive and sweeping changes for the YSC but was apparently never signed or submitted to the Court.
On June 25, 1984, a Partial Agreement was created. The Partial Agreement was more limited in scope, but addressed the following areas: placing juveniles in the least restrictive place for rehabilitation; comprehensive evaluation and assessment of all inmates regarding medical, mental, and dental health; individualized service plans to enable juveniles a life as close to normal as possible; individual education plans that meet State and Federal requirements; ongoing medical, mental, and dental health care that meets the individual requirements of the juveniles; restricted use of psychotropic drugs for calming inmates, allowed only when prescribed by a physician; and an independent monitor to have access to the facility for 24 months after the agreement takes effect. It is unknown whether this Partial Agreement was ever submitted to or entered by the court. The document on file is not signed by the defendants, and has no docket number or other court designation. However, the class was certified by the Court on June 26, 1984, the day after the date on the Partial Agreement, and the Court does not reference either agreement in its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment. The date of initial filing remains unknown.
On May 20, 1985, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho (Judge Raymond Clyne McNichols) held a bench trial lasting 8 days. On July 12, 1985, the Court (Judge McNichols) entered its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and its Judgment. By the time of trial, all of the improper practices previously permitted had been stopped for all practical purposes, and the responsible state officers testified that such practices would not be reinstated, and the court found that the practices were not likely to reoccur. In a limited holding the Court (Judge McNichols) dismissed eight of the plaintiffs' nine claims with prejudice for failure to prove any deprivation of constitutional rights. The one claim plaintiffs prevailed on was cruel and unusual practices. Specifically, the YSC's use of isolation, physical restraints, extended standing against a wall, and extended standing on a chair, as punishment were held unconstitutional. Plaintiffs received declaratory relief, but since the practices had effectively ended by the time of trial they received no injunctive, or prospective injunctive relief. Plaintiffs' counsel was awarded costs and expenses of trial.
Because PACER has no docket, we have no more information on this file.Greg Venker - 05/29/2006