Farrell Update: Motion Granted
Last week, in response to the July 7th Farrell hearing, Judge Tigar enforced the Prison Law Office's (representing Farrell) motion to hold California's state-run juvenile correctional facilities (DJF) accountable, specifically for unmet educational and programmatic requirements.
DJF remains in violation of a 2005 court order to meet the 4-hour minimum requirement per youth per day for educational programming. In July 2011, DJF said they needed at least 90 days to hire adequate staff to provide classroom time. Additionally, insufficient classroom space has caused classes to be frequently located in spaces not conducive to learning, for example, dining rooms and even closets. DJF claimed they were awaiting modules but needed 6 months to obtain space. Lack of sufficient funding to accomplish these goals cannot be used as an excuse, as Judge Tigar warns, "...it is not clear that a claim of inadequate funding could ever justify the conditions of incarceration that led to the filing of this motion," when DJF has spent over $200,000 per ward per year.
Tigar's August 4th 2011 order:
~ DJF has 90 days (until November) to hire enough staff to provide the required education services, including special education, for youth in both the general and restricted
~ DJF has 150 days (until January) to provide and begin use of adequate classroom space.
The court also ordered that the practice of confining wards for more than 21 hours in isolation end, as every youth, regardless of their behavioral classification is required at least 6-11 hours per day of programmed out-of-cell time. The present order states that DJF "willfully disobeyed the court's orders."
In addition, the August 4th 2011 order requires that on October 27th, DJF needs to prove why they should not be held in contempt of court, regarding the practice of isolation.
CJCJ has been following the litigation of this case between the state-run youth correctional facilities (DJF) and the Prison Law Office, since 2003. Our recently published Farrell Litigation Timeline is a helpful tool in understanding just how complex this reform process has been. While the U.S. Supreme Court declared the conditions of California's adult prison system unconstitutional in May, the state's juvenile prison system continues to expose youth to inhumane treatment. According to both DJF and the Prison Law office, the timeframe for this order is reasonable; but six years after the original court order, there is significant doubt as to DJF's ability to achieve compliance.
If you would like to receive an electronic copy of the August 4, 2011 court order, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sentencing Service Program Case Specialist
Posted in Blog, Juvenile Justice
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