Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities
This page is about DRC’s work for people with disabilities locked in jails, juvenile facilities, and other institutions. We write reports about how people are treated and file lawsuits to improve how they are treated. This page, also, has press releases and articles about our work in this area. For more detail about our work keep reading.
"We will never achieve justice in this country until we have the courage to look unblinkingly into the hidden corners of our system of mass incarceration, where men and women are locked away and forgotten." Van Jones, author of Rebuild the Dream.
DRC has been a leading organization in efforts to improve the conditions and treatment of prisoners with disabilities in California detention facilities, such as jails and juvenile facilities. Using its monitoring authority, DRC has investigated conditions in detention facilities across the State, focusing on issues that significantly and disproportionally impact people with disabilities, including: (1) overuse and misuse of isolation and solitary confinement; (2) the provision of inadequate medical and mental health care; and (3) program inaccessibility, denial of reasonable accommodations, and other forms of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related laws.
Disability Rights California (DRC) and Youth Law Center (YLC) visited the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus (JJC) for two days, May 23-24, 2017. Over the course of the following year, DRC and YLC reviewed the County’s public records and wrote a public report which sets forth findings and recommendations.
DRC visited the San Diego County Jail, talked to prisoners and staff, and looked at records. DRC found problems with the way prisoners with disabilities were treated. DRC wrote a report about what we learned. Below you will find more information about this work.
After case settlement, inmates in Sacramento County jail no longer routinely placed in restraints while receiving dialysis
In 2009, Disability Rights California filed a case on behalf of several inmates who were routinely placed in restraints while receiving dialysis at Sacramento County Jail. The Jail had a blanket policy requiring restraints during dialysis even if inmates did not present a threat to themselves or others.
On December 6, 2017, DRC and co-counsel filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in the Santa Barbara County Jail, claiming that conditions at the jail do not meet minimum standards under the U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state disability law. The lawsuit alleges that the jail fails to provide basic mental health and medical care, overuses and misuses solitary confinement, discriminates against people with disabilities, and provides inhumane, unsanitary, and unsafe living conditions. The lack of care and failure to meet minimum legal standards has led to unnecessary suffering and injury for prisoners with disabilities at the jail. The prisoners seek significant reforms to improve jail conditions to comply with constitutional and statutory standards.