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Crime and Courts


U.S. Department of Justice is trying to stop seclusion of mentally ill boys
Ohio Department of Youth Services says the seclusion is necessary to keep the teens from being violent
Story by DEBBIE HOLMES


 
The Department of Justice is investigating whether youths in Ohio are being deprived of some of their rights due to seclusion.
Courtesy of Andrew Bardwell
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In The Region:
The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a court order to force Ohio's juvenile prisons to stop what it describes as rampant use of seclusion to discipline boys with mental health disorders.
LISTEN: HOLMES ON SECLUSION

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Federal prosecutors say Ohio violates the due process rights of boys it holds in seclusion by depriving them of education, exercise and mental health care.

The Justice Department detailed in its findings that in the second half of last year, the state imposed a total of almost 60,000 hours of seclusion on 229 boys with mental health problems. Ten boys at one facility spent more than 10 percent of their time in custody in seclusion.

Kim Parsell, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Youth Services, says Ohio uses seclusion when boys in custody are violent.

“We’ve been on a path of reform for many years, and its impacted all aspects of our operations," Parsell says. "And it is just important to realize that we use seclusion as a last resort to keep our facilities safe.”

Parsell says those in seclusion still receive ongoing treatment. She says different tools are used by staff for violent situations.

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