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ACLU files request for injunction to halt the use of solitary confinement in youth prisons in Wisconsin

ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center filed a request for a preliminary injunction in federal court to halt the use of solitary confinement for youth in state-run correctional facilities.

The suit was originally filed in January on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls.

According to the release from the ACLU, the groups filed an amended complaint with additional children incarcerated at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as plaintiffs.

“Isolating, handcuffing and pepper spraying children is not only dehumanizing and traumatizing,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “It is also unnecessary and counterproductive.  As experts in the field show, these practices actually undermine institutional safety and security.  As a result, most juvenile correctional facilities no longer use pepper spray, restraints or punitive solitary confinement.”

Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake incarcerate about 150 to 200 youth, some as young as 14 years old.

The complaint argues “these practices violate children’s constitutional rights, including their rights to substantive due process, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The plaintiffs are seeking immediate relief for the young people in these facilities while this case is being litigated.

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