solitary confinement.248 Plaintiff G.F., a girl with psychiatric problems and learning disabilities,
was placed in solitary confinement for one hundred days.249 During that time, she was not allowed
to attend school.250 Plaintiff W.B., who had been found incompetent to stand trial and was
diagnosed with psychosis and possible schizophrenia, spent ninety days in solitary confinement,251
during which time he received no educational services and was marked unexcused from school
due to being in solitary confinement.252 On February 13, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education
and Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in the case, stating that the county officials
could not evade their federal statutory obligations.253 A year later, in 2015, the county settled with
the plaintiffs, prompting significant reforms in their education and disciplinary policies.254
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the county agreed to no longer use solitary confinement for
“discipline, punishment, administrative convenience, retaliation, or staffing shortages.”255
Moreover, the county agreed to separate youth for no more than four hours and only in the case
where the youth posed an immediate harm to themselves or others.256
In 2016, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took up the issue of solitary
confinement in county juvenile facilities.257 Staff from the Board of Supervisors worked with
juvenile justice advocates and Los Angeles County Probation on language for a motion that would
be acceptable to all stakeholders.258 Interim Chief Probation Officer Cal Remington did not oppose
the action,259 stating that the probation department is “absolutely committed to doing away with
solitary confinement” and that probation had been moving toward that goal for some time.260 In
May 2016, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion that limited the use of
solitary confinement for youth in the county’s juvenile detention facilities.261 Written and
248 Complaint at 1-2, G.F. et al. v. Contra Costa County et al., Case No. C 13-3667-SBA, (N.D. Cal. 2013),
http://dralegal.org/case/g-f-et-al-v-contra-costa-county-et-al/#files. Contra Costa County is located in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Contra Costa designed its own long-term programs in its juvenile hall, a maximum-security
facility with the capacity for 290 beds. Id. ¶ 61. The juvenile hall holds both pre-trial and post-disposition youth. The
hall has two disposition programs, the male-only Youthful Offender Treatment Program which was approximately 14
months long and Girls in Motion which generally lasted 4 months. In addition to these programs, Contra Costa County
also routinely held youth in the pre-trial units for long periods of time when awaiting placement or competency
determinations. Id. ¶¶ 62, 64-65.
249 Id. ¶198.
250 Id. ¶¶ 191-201.
251 Id. ¶¶ 27-28, 210, 222.
252 Id. ¶¶ 225, 227.
253 U.S. Statement of Interest at 9, G.F. et al. v. Contra Costa County et al., Case No. C 13-3667-SBA 7 (N.D. Cal.
254 Settlement Agreement, G.F. et al. v. Contra Costa County et al., Case No. C 13-3667-SBA 5 (N.D. Cal. 2015),
255 Id. at 5.
256 Id.; see also Settlement to Ban Solitary Confinement for Youth in Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall, DISABILITY
RIGHTS ADVOCATES (May 19, 2015), http://dralegal.org/press/settlement-to-ban-solitary-confinement-for-youth-in-contra-costa-county-juvenile-hall/.
257 Interview with Patricia Soung, Director of Youth Justice and Senior Staff Attorney, Children’s Def. Fund (Jan. 22,
2018) (on file with author).
260 Brenda Gazzar, LA County ends solitary confinement for juveniles, L.A. DAILY NEWS (May 3, 2016, 4: 54 PM),
261 Abby Sewell & Garrett Therolf, L.A. County severely restricts solitary confinement for juveniles, L.A. TIMES (May
3, 2016), http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-juvenile-solitary-20160503-story.html.