In October of 1974, juvenile inmates at the Philadelphia Youth Study Center (YSC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(3), 2000d against the City of Philadelphia and local Family Court judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs, represented by Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia, and private attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, and punitive damages for those members of the class that suffered injury, alleging that conditions at the YSC violated juveniles' First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended: use of excessive force, including severe physical beatings and prolonged isolation; overcrowding; physical deterioration of the building coupled with rat and roach infestations; poor heating and ventilation leading to extreme temperatures; restricted movement of inmates due to excessive security measures; no outdoor, and limited indoor recreation; heavily restricted visitation rights; censored and undelivered mail; effective prohibition of phone use; inadequate sanitation and hygiene; inadequate medical, mental and dental health provision; unnecessary pelvic examinations for girls, bordering on sexual abuse; inadequate caloric intake for detainees; no written disciplinary code; forced and coerced labor without pay; no library access; substandard education, with no supervision; no social services provided for females, very limited services for males; inadequate staff-child ratios, and poor staff training; no proper classification for offenders at intake; and practices of racial segregation and discrimination. The alleged practices were also in violation of a direct command within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that the YSC immediately cease the use of any corporal punishment or isolation tactics.
In February 1975 a new Board of Managers was appointed to YSC and in September 1975 a new Executive Director was selected. Many changes began to take place at YSC.
On November 24, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Judge Joseph Simon Lord, III) certified the class as all juveniles who were or would become subject to incarceration at the YSC for declaratory and injunctive relief, but not for damages. Santiago v. City of Philadelphia, 72 F.R.D. 619 (E.D. Penn. 1976). The Court (Judge Lord) also recognized two sub-classes: all non-white juveniles, and all non-adjudicated juveniles within the greater class.
On July 20, 1977, the Court (Judge Lord) denied defendants' motion to dismiss. Santiago v. City of Philadelphia, 435 F. Supp. 136 (E.D. Penn. 1977). The Court determined that plaintiffs had made a prima facie case on all claims except the 42 U.S.C. 2000d racial discrimination claim, because the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies.
On November 1, 1977, the parties began collaboration on a Working Agreement.
On October 24, 1978, the parties signed a Stipulation of Settlement addressing all of the allegations from the 1974 lawsuit. However, on December 29, 1978 the Court (Judge Lord) ordered the "Stipulation in Partial Settlement of This Action," which was much more limited in scope. This contained a number of provisions with the primary purposes of: enhancing the mandatory education policy and its implementation on an individual level, taking account of age, education level, and disciplinary status; eliminating corporal punishment within YSC; making sure that the classrooms had adequate supplies and staff for the education of all students; hiring a librarian and maintaining a library; and creating a monitoring scheme. Plaintiffs' counsel had free and open access to all records and admission information. Pennsylvania was to designate an evaluation team to inspect YSC 3 months after the Stipulation went into effect and every 4 months after.
On July 15, 1980 the parties submitted an Amended Stipulation in Partial Settlement to the court. As amended the Stipulation contained several provisions from the initial out-of-court agreement of October 1978. Specifically it required that: requested privacy be allowed, and not construed as isolation; isolation was never to be used as a punishment or for the convenience of the staff, but could be used to protect a resident from the themselves or others; prolonged isolation of up to 4 hours required a doctor's approval; during isolation, detainees must have access to clean, dry, well-lit rooms, dressed beds, hygiene supplies, access to education supplies, medical care, bathrooms, and correspondence; and recreation and creative activity periods were created and enforced. Also there were modifications to the visitation hours.
In February 1983, the YSC Board of Managers was dissolved, and supervision was assumed directly by the City of Philadelphia. Accordingly the parties reevaluated the Stipulation Agreement and reissued it in its entirety with some small changes on December 12, 1984. On January 15, 1985, the Court (Judge Lord) entered the Second Amended Stipulation in Partial Settlement of This Action. The new amendments added more complex protocol for admission and discharge from YSC, to deal with overcrowding.
On January 21, 1988, the Court (Judge Lord) entered the Third Amended Stipulation in Partial Settlement, to go into effect January 31, 1988. In addition to being a comprehensive document containing all provisions binding the parties, it provided for a two-phase population cap, where the YSC would reduce its maximum population to 120 residents by January 31, 1988, and then 105 residents by February 15, 1988. Together with the requirements listed above, the final Stipulation specifically required: handbooks for the residents, which explained proscribed behavior and punishments; grievance procedures; beds for each resident and fresh bedding; adequate heating, air conditioning, and ventilation; freedom of movement for residents; non-bedroom private space for residents; phone access for residents unless abused; access to psychiatric counseling for residents; hygiene products and clean clothes for all residents; meals and health in accordance with law and dietary recommendations; bathrooms cleaned daily; regular supervision to prevent fights; no discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation; and training for all employees.
On January 25, 1988, the Court (Judge Lord) entered an order appointing "Offender Aid and Restoration" as the monitor for the case.
Because PACER has no docket, we have no more information on this file.Greg Venker - 05/24/2006