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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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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Order Duration 2004 - 2008
Filing Year 2001
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program Faculty)
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Investigation of Nevada Youth Training Center, Elko, Nevada
JI-NV-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2002
Memorandum of Understanding by and between the United States and the State of Nevada
JI-NV-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/23/2004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Pyzel, Cynthia A. (Nevada)
Sandoval, Brian Edward (Nevada)
Defendant's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)
Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia)

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