On April 6, 1986, inmates at Catalina Mountain Juvenile Institution (now known as Catalina Mountain School) near Tucson, Arizona, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Education for the Handicapped Act against the former and acting superintendents of Catalina Mountain Juvenile ...
read more >
On April 6, 1986, inmates at Catalina Mountain Juvenile Institution (now known as Catalina Mountain School) near Tucson, Arizona, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Education for the Handicapped Act against the former and acting superintendents of Catalina Mountain Juvenile Institution; the acting superintendent of Catalina Mountain; the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections; and the director of Juvenile Services for the Arizona Department of Corrections. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
The plaintiffs, who were represented by the National Center for Youth Law and private counsel, filed a Sixth Amended Complaint on April 9, 1990, and asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging the defendants' treatment and policies violated the juveniles' constitutional rights. The plaintiffs sought to change confinement practices and to require adequate procedural protections prior to inflicting harsh and cruel punishments. They also sought to require medical care and adequate educational programs, and to evaluate juveniles for handicapping conditions in accordance with the Education for the Handicapped Act. Finally, the plaintiffs sought to change the defendants' interference with the juveniles' access to legal counsel and their restrictive visitation policies. In addition, certain plaintiffs asked certain defendants for damages.
The parties entered into a Consent Decree on May 6, 1993, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The court (Judge Richard M. Bilby) issued an injunction to last four years. It required the defendants to house juveniles in the least restrictive environment and instituted population limitations. It further required defendants to form an individual treatment plan for each inmate, and to provide medical, dental, and psychiatric care. It provided guidelines for educational assessments, progress monitoring, and work programs. Finally, it prohibited arbitrary punishments. The Consent Decree provided for monitoring through a committee, which would conduct inspections and issue written reports on the progress.
On April 15, 1996, the court (Judge Bilby) issued an order finding the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections out of compliance with the Consent Decree, in that the Department failed to adhere to the Decree's requirements limiting the population in juvenile facilities to designated levels and demanding the approval of the monitoring committee before increasing the total number of beds. The court ordered the Department to resolve this matter within 30 days. Compliance reports continued to be filed with the court and the docket continues through June 2000.Laura Uberti - 05/17/2006