University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of Nevada Youth Training Center, Elko, Nevada JI-NV-0001
Docket / Court Never Filed ( No Court )
State/Territory Nevada
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On December 6, 2001, the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") notified the State of Nevada, the Nevada Department of Human Resources, and the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (collectively, "the State") of its intent to investigate the conditions of confinement at the Nevada ... read more >
On December 6, 2001, the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") notified the State of Nevada, the Nevada Department of Human Resources, and the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (collectively, "the State") of its intent to investigate the conditions of confinement at the Nevada Youth Training Center ("NYTC"), pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997, and the pattern or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. In its November 12, 2002 findings letter, the DOJ concluded that certain conditions at the facility violated the constitutional and statutory rights of youths confined therein. Specifically, the DOJ alleged violations related to the use of excessive force, inadequate grievance procedures, lack of procedural due process in the imposition of seclusion, improper screening of mail, inadequate mental health care and safety, and unsafe transportation.

The DOJ conducted its investigation by reviewing numerous facility records, interviewing current and former NYTC staff and youths, and touring the facility's buildings and grounds. From its investigation, the DOJ learned that NYTC staff frequently used excessive force against youths, including punching, kicking, shoving, slapping, and verbal abuse based on race or perceived sexual orientation. The DOJ also learned that NYTC was frequently understaffed and provided infrequent training, used isolation inappropriately as a form of summary punishment and in violation of its own procedures regarding disciplinary punishment, and did not provide adequate mental health screening and automatically discontinued youths' psychotropic medications upon their arrival. In its findings letter, the DOJ articulated a set of minimum remedial measures necessary for the State to follow to remedy the violations.

On February 26, 2004, the DOJ and the State entered a Memorandum of Understanding. The State agreed to develop and implement policies to limit the use of force to situations in which youths pose a risk of harm to themselves or others, enact a reliable process for youths to raise grievances, increase the number of facility staff and trainings, reform policies related to isolated confinement, and implement improved mental health care, among other reforms. The State also agreed to send status reports to the DOJ every 90 days regarding incidents related to these reforms, and any updates to the new policies. The parties agreed to meet and confer regarding whether the State was in full compliance with the provisions of the agreement two years from the date of signing. Per its website, the DOJ ended its oversight of NYTC on March 17, 2008.

Nate West - 10/26/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Hire
Monitoring
Reporting
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Juveniles
Mail
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) State of Nevada
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2004 - 2008
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Investigation of Nevada Youth Training Center, Elko, Nevada 11/12/2002
JI-NV-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum of Understanding by and between the United States and the State of Nevada 02/23/2004
JI-NV-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Pyzel, Cynthia A. (Nevada)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Sandoval, Brian Edward (Nevada)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0001
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia)
JI-NV-0001-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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