A San Francisco judge has ordered California to adhere to strict standards in monitoring county juvenile facilities across California, ending a lawsuit over what lawyers said were deplorable conditions in some institutions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The order requires the Corrections Standards Authority — the agency responsible for monitoring juvenile halls — to comply with existing law that advocates for juvenile offenders said had not been enforced.
Lawyers said some of the conditions left uncorrected included teenagers held in isolation 23 hours a day for months on end, beatings and excessive use of pepper spray, overcrowding, and inadequate education. The lawsuit said the corrections authority had not required the juvenile halls to meet legally prescribed deadlines for correcting problems. The state found only minor problems at three Los Angeles halls in 2001, despite findings by federal investigators and a local judge of serious deficiencies in medical and mental health care, sanitation, use of force, and other areas. “It was cruel and unusual punishment, and the [authority] gave them a pass,” said Donald Specter, director of the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit legal group.