On December 9, 1986, a class action lawsuit was filed against Bonneville County, Idaho, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of all past, present, and future juveniles jailed at the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The plaintiffs, who were ...
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On December 9, 1986, a class action lawsuit was filed against Bonneville County, Idaho, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of all past, present, and future juveniles jailed at the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the National Center for Youth Law and the Youth Law Center, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, and 5601 et seq., alleging that jail conditions and policies violated their constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs' complaint addressed four issues. First, the juvenile cellblocks were below the national standard for juvenile detention facilities because they were too small, unlit, afforded inmates no privacy, and insufficiently monitored to ensure inmate safety. Second, the County did not offer alternative community-based detention options as required by the Juvenile Justice Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 5633(12) and 1603(1). Third, juvenile and adult inmates were not completely separated, sharing common and recreational areas. In addition, female juvenile and adult detainees could communicate with each other while in their cells. Fourth, juveniles were improperly incarcerated for "status offenses," acts that are only criminal if committed by a juvenile.
On the same day they filed suit, the parties also filed a consent decree. Bonneville County admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to make significant changes in juvenile detention. The County agreed to meet stipulated minimum standards for juvenile detention with the assistance of a nationally known expert and to house juveniles and adults separately both in their own jail and contracted facilities. The consent decree allowed the County to jail juveniles in another county for the first six months following the consent decree, if necessary to comply with the stipulated minimum standards. Our copy of the Consent Decree is not signed and we do not have a copy of the stipulations.Kristen Sagar - 11/03/2007