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Case Name Inmates of Judge John J. Connelly Youth Center v. Dukakis JI-MA-0001
Docket / Court 75-1786 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Case Summary
In 1975, juveniles in custody of the Department of Youth Services (DYS) at the Judge J. Connelly Youth Center (Roslindale) filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Governor of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and ... read more >
In 1975, juveniles in custody of the Department of Youth Services (DYS) at the Judge J. Connelly Youth Center (Roslindale) filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Governor of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief from allegedly unconstitutional conditions at Roslindale. The Juvenile Court Advocacy Program, and the Massachusetts Defenders Committee represented the plaintiffs.

After pretrial conferences, the parties entered into a Consent Decree. On April 2, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Wendell Arthur Garrity, Jr.) ordered a Consent Decree as binding judgment in the case.

The Consent Decree provided that: DYS would stop commingling pretrial detainees with committed juveniles awaiting placement; parents would be notified as soon as a juvenile entered the Roslindale for detention, and the attorney for detainee would be determined; detainees could send and receive mail to and from any person, and parcels could only be opened in the presence of the addressee to check for contraband; Roslindale would furnish all items necessary to write and send letters, including postage for seven first class letters per week; twice a week, two-hour visitation periods would be available for parents and guardians; attorneys and clergy could visit at any time between 9:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. seven days a week; local telephone calls of five-minute duration would be available six days a week; current and future employees would be screened for emotional fitness to work with children in a custodial setting; each detainee would be assigned a counselor to assist them with any problems arising from detention, and for each 45 detainees there would be a counseling supervisor; all employees were to undergo regular in-service training; individual education needs would be met for each detainee, with class sizes not to exceed 12 detainees; each detainee would be examined by a doctor or registered nurse with 24 hours of admission to Roslindale, and at least every four months afterwards; psychiatric and emergency medical treatment would be made available to each detainee; each detainee was to have at least 75 square feet of personal space, and there was to be a common room per each 20 detainees; upon admission, each detainee would receive a clean room, and be responsible for cleaning up after that; each student would receive a minimum of two hours outdoor recreation on school days, and four hours on non-school days; games, books, and periodicals would be provided to detainees; mandatory sleeping hours would not exceed 8 hours per night; new detainees would be provided with clean mattresses and bedding, as well as towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste; bedding would be cleaned weekly; daily showers or baths would be available to all detainees, with towels changed twice weekly; breakfast and an evening meal would be provided to all detainees, with an snack available after the evening meal, if served before 5:00 P.M.; corporal punishment was strictly forbidden; permitted and proscribed behavior was to be made clear to all detainees upon admission to Roslindale; and any restriction of rights due to behavior must arise from written rules available to detainees, and a hearing must be held on the matter as soon as possible.

The defendants had 8 months to bring Roslindale within full compliance of the Consent Decree, or be subject to closure. Five persons were appointed to a Monitoring Board for 2 years which would submit findings and recommendations to both parties bi-monthly for the first 8 months, and quarterly after that. The Court (Judge Garrity) retained jurisdiction over the matter. There is no docket or further information about the disposition of the case.

Greg Venker - 05/21/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Library (non-law) access
Loss or damage to property
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Judge John J. Connelly Youth Center
Plaintiff Description Unknown
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1976 - n/a
Filed 05/06/1975
Case Closing Year 1976
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
D. Mass.
Consent Decree
JI-MA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
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Judges Garrity, Wendell Arthur Jr. (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gallagher, Mary C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
Limon, Stephen M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Seigle, Marc S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs

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