In the early 1990's, the Utah Detention Study Committee conducted an investigation of the youth detention facilities throughout the state. Their resulting report assessed juvenile detention practices and recommended ways to improve them. The committee found that the number of youth at risk for ...
read more >
In the early 1990's, the Utah Detention Study Committee conducted an investigation of the youth detention facilities throughout the state. Their resulting report assessed juvenile detention practices and recommended ways to improve them. The committee found that the number of youth at risk for delinquency in Utah was at an all-time high - approximately 290,000 youth from the ages of 10 through 17. They also found that overcrowding was a problem in a number of Utah's detention centers. The Salt Lake Detention Center and the Moweda Youth Home accounted for 58 percent of all detention admissions statewide. Overcrowding occurred in the Salt Lake Detention Center 98 percent of all nights and the Moweda Youth Home 51 percent of all nights during fiscal year 1993. Ethnic minorities were overrepresented in juvenile detention admissions. Hispanics accounted for 4.3 percent of Utah's school age population and 16.3 percent of all admissions to detention in fiscal year 1993. Youth of color accounted for 8.2 percent of all youth in Utah and 27.5 percent of statewide detention admissions. Youth of color stayed in detention longer than white juveniles. Ethnic minority staff were underrepresented in juvenile detention centers and did not reflect the ethnic characteristics of the population they served. The committee recommended changes such as alternatives to detention; constructions of additional secure beds; the development of juvenile receiving centers; statutory provisions; and ethnic minority youth detention staff, probation officers, and juvenile court judges. Other recommendations pertained to rural issues; statewide detention admission guidelines; youth corrections mission statement, policies, and procedures; and community/neighborhood based prevention programs.
As a result of the report, on June 10, 1993, a group of youth who were being detained in Utah filed a class action lawsuit against the state in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. We have only the docket in this case, so we do not know the specifics of the complaint, but the docket indicates that it was a result of the findings of the study committee. On September 19, 1994, the district court granted a stipulated motion to certify the plaintiff class. A week later, the case was referred to a magistrate judge.
On March 13, 1996, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, and the court dismissed the case. We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.Kristen Sagar - 10/28/2008