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Government & Politics

The Federal Court Ends its Oversight of Ohio's Juvenile Prisons

Photo of the ODYS logo
The Ohio Department of Youth Services

A federal judge has ended a decade of court-ordered oversight of Ohio's juvenile prison system. 

Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.

In 2004, two child-advocacy lawyers sued the Department of Youth Services, claiming excessive use of force against children, inadequate education, denial of proper medical and mental health care and failure to adequately train and supervise staff.

At that point, a federal judge ordered oversight of the youth lockups, and the U.S. Department of Justice also got involved. That began a series of changes at Ohio’s seven juvenile detention centers.

Two years ago, most of the monitoring required in that initial ruling was ended and now, a federal judge has terminated the rest of it. 

The department has closed all but three facilities and today houses fewer than 500 children, down from 1,800 a decade ago.