In 1971, a group of juvenile inmates filed suit in the United States District Court, in the District of Rhode Island pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to challenge conditions of their confinement at the Rhode Island's Boys' Training School. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification.
In 1972, a temporary restraining order was entered by Judge Raymond Pettine and the matter was certified as a class action. On July 28, 1972, Judge Pettine issued an order finding that various practices at the institution violated the juveniles' due process rights. The court ordered reforms in the following areas: solitary confinement, minimal conditions of confinement, rehabilitative treatment, vocational training, psychiatric counseling and drug rehabilitation. 346 F.Supp. 1354 (D.R.I. 1972).
In 1973, the parties entered into a consent decree to resolve the disputed issues of overcrowding, a deteriorated and inadequate physical plant, insufficient staffing, and inadequate academic, vocational and physical education programs. The plaintiffs were identified as the prevailing party and attorneys' fees were awarded pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. A Special Master was appointed by Judge Pettine to oversee compliance with the consent decree.
A modification order was entered on August 9, 1977 after the defendants failed to comply with the decree provisions. 76 F.R.D. 115 (D.R.I. 1977).
We do not have information on case proceedings for the period of 1978 to 1997.
In 2000, attorneys for the ACLU and its National Prison Project entered the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.
On June 22, 2000, the district court (Senior Judge Ronald R. Lagueux) issued an Order (by consent of the parties) that modified and superseded all Consent Orders and modifications that had been previously entered by the court. The order specified continued reforms in the areas of mail, basic entitlements, religious observance, prison transfers, disciplinary procedures, classification, education and exercise. The order also identified four specific requirements to be achieved by the defendants for full compliance: (1) completion of the construction of a new juvenile facility; (2) full accreditation of the Rhode Island Training School for Youth by the American Correctional Association; (3) development and full implementation of a revised Policy and Procedures Manual; and (4) full continuous implementation of the administrative grievance procedure. The court also ordered Michael Keating, Jr. to continue in his appointment as Special Master.
Monitoring continued. The defendants refused to pay the ACLU's request for attorneys' fees and the ALCU filed a motion to intervene and a moved for payment of its attorneys' fees. On December 6, 2006, Senior Judge Ronald R. Lagueux granted the ACLU plaintiffs' motion to intervene, as well as the motion for approval of the payment and disbursement of attorneys' fees and costs. On July 11, 2007, Judge Lagueux ordered the defendants to pay $34,582.50 to the ACLU in legal fees as a result of the ACLU's work to secure the previously unpaid legal fees, rather than advocacy on behalf of the plaintiffs.
In 2014, the parties jointly moved to modify the existing consent decree in this case. On June 18, 2014, Judge Lagueux held that the parties had met the legal standard for the modification of the consent decree. The parties sought to modify the provision of the decree that stated that the Training School would secure full accreditation by the American Correctional Association. The parties claim that in the years since the provision was enacted the best practices in juvenile justice have changed dramatically, and they proposed to adopt another set of standards based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) standards, which represented current best practices. The actual standards the parties proposed to adopt were referred to as "JDAI+ standards" because of additions and modifications to the original JDAI standards that were made to incorporate requirements of the consent decree.
Judge Lagueux also held that the parties' experts from the Center for Children's Law and Policy (CCLP) would determine whether or not the Training School was in substantial compliance with the JDAI+ standards. To do so CCLP would receive access to records from the Rhode Island Training School and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families and be able to interview staff and youth at the facility.
On April 14, 2014, the Special Master had reported to the Court that three of the four elements of the consent decree had been substantially complied with. These elements were completion of construction of a new facility, development and full implementation of a revised Policy and Procedures Manual, and full continuous implementation of the administrative grievance procedure. The remaining element is the provision that had been modified under the June 18, 2014 order. The court held that once the defendants have reached substantial compliance with this new provision of the consent decree the mastership will be terminated and at that point the parties will jointly move to dismiss the case. Dan Dalton - 02/24/2007
Anna Jones - 04/03/2016