Judge ends most oversight of Ohio youth prisons

A federal judge on Friday ended most of his court-ordered monitoring of Ohio's youth prison system while ruling that oversight of mental health services and units for students with behavioral issues must continue.
Associated Press
Jan 20, 2013

The decision by Judge Algenon Marbley brings to an end the ongoing court review of numerous issues such as general education, use of force and dental services. It also means many of the problems identified first in a 2004 lawsuit and later in a 2008 court settlement have been addressed successfully.

The ruling is a measure of how much progress has been made over the years, said Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati lawyer representing juvenile inmates.

"The overriding message is that a lot has gone right and we'll finish the work up in a cooperative fashion and the kids will be well-served," Gerhardstein said.

The Department of Youth Services said it was preparing a response to the ruling.

The system has changed dramatically since the 2004 lawsuit that alleged a culture of violence permeated the state's detention system for juvenile inmates. The Department of Youth Services has shrunk to four facilities, and its population dropped from more than 2,000 to about 600 today. Most youth convicted in the state's juvenile justice system now serve their time in local centers close to family and community support networks.

Those changes have also brought an ongoing challenge for the state: Most of the remaining inmates under state control are older, have been convicted of more serious and violent crimes, and can be harder to rehabilitate.

Marbley's ruling said the state will continue quality assurance monitoring of several areas, including safe living conditions, medical services, special education and investigations of incidents in the juvenile detention centers. Those quality assurance checks are a step down from court-ordered monitoring.

That leaves continued court oversight of mental health services, including the use of psychotropic medications, whether blacks are more likely than whites to be placed in mental-health units, suicide prevention and discipline for youth receiving mental health services.

The second area staying under supervision involves units holding youth who demonstrate a persistent inability to safely reside in the general population because of violence against youth or staff.

Some changes to the youth prison system are a model for the nation, an annual report on the system concluded in December, while highlighting continuing problems with gang violence, education classes and medical care.

Youth Services administrators have done commendable work reducing the number of offenders in secure confinement and spreading services for youthful offenders around Ohio, according to the report by the court-appointed monitor.

 

Comments

Restless1

"youth who demonstrate a persistent inability to safely reside in the general population because of violence against youth or staff."
What do you do with these animals who cannot live like or with other human beings? Currently we turn them loose to continue their violent life against us.

DEEPsix's picture
DEEPsix

OUR 17 year old son hasn't see any improvement, and ther has been NO improvement in the ERIE COUNTY JUVI SYSTEM... ONLY A DECLINE WHICH FOCUSES OUR MAIN POINTS ON THE JUDGE, AND THE LACK OF PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED STAFF... People need to understand, the Judge keeps his job, and so do those at Juvi Center, via failures... SOMEONE NEEDS TO SPEAK TO NORM HILLS, FROM BERLIN HEIGHTS, Former Director of Dept Of Youth Services, State of Ohio...A Erie County man, and State employee for over 25 yrs... UNLESS, AMY GRUBBE OBJECTS... She has LONG REACH FOLKS, WHICH now that she handles as Treas Of Dem Party people really don't understand...

DEEPsix's picture
DEEPsix

People who have issues with the courts, unless you are one THEIR side, you will not see any results, also known as FAIRNESS... If you are a minority, or you name pops up to be on the wrong side.. you will not find Justice... the same as back in the 1865-1960s here in Erie County. It isnt the RIGHT who keep us down, but rather those on the LEFT, like Amy Grubbe and her Democrat partners, because is all of us voted against the left, and their BS, they would never control one judge, or probation officer, or one police chief.... They would see true JUSTICE SERVED, and trur FREEDOM SEEVED, and those of us who have issues would be less encumbered from their control.

DEEPsix's picture
DEEPsix

forgive the misspelling... this site does not allow for corrections... I hardly need gramatical advise.. When I go back to correct spelling errors, the SR system seems to ignore them?

luvblues2

That little blue link under your post that says "edit" allows you to make corrections. But, why bother when you have a rant such as yours above?

grandmasgirl

It seems to me that DEEPsix isn't ranting, but that she(he?) is frustrated. I understand her "rantings". It sounds like she has a 17 year old whom she loves and wants to help, but is not getting any satisfaction from the people who are getting paid to do the job. Hang in there DEEPsix. Things will probably improve once your child gets older. Sometimes all it takes is a change of "friends".

Tru Grit

I am a juvenile corrections officer at the IRJCF in Massillon, OH. I started in July of 2012. In the time I have been working with the state I have seen serious youth offenders daily and have had to deal with them in what is known as a planned intervention. These kids are extremely dangerous and pose at times to be a danger to themselves and staff. DYS has come leaps and bounds from where it was in the past with not only dealing with these types of youths but also the facility as a whole. Staff are trained beyond what the majority would call satisfactory and it is truly a honor to work with a lot of these kids. These troubled youths are our future whether we want to believe it or not. We have kids from Sandusky, Cleveland, Ashland big cities and small towns. No youth is the same but the common goal to rehabilitate and help them succeed is the same across the board for all. It is sad some youths have seemed to pick a life of gang violence, assualtive behavior, and the mind set that they will forever live behind bars. It is sad but a true realistic reality for some, you can't save them all but you can still help inspire them to someday change before it's to late. I love my job and love working with the kids it's been a privelage to be a part of so many young men's lives.

Huron_1969

Thank you for sharing..... honest and sincere people are our only hope to making a better society