T.G., et al. v. Kern County, et al.
On February 22, 2018, Disability Rights Advocates, in partnership with Disability Rights California (“DRC”), released a 50-page report on our 6-month investigation of the treatment of youth with disabilities at the Kern County Juvenile Hall and other Kern County juvenile detention facilities. Our investigation uncovered abuse and neglect of youth with mental health and behavioral disabilities in these facilities. We found that youth with disabilities have been disproportionately subjected to pepper spray, dangerous prone restraints, and solitary confinement, and that youth have been denied their special education rights and provided with inadequate mental health treatment.
In association with the investigation and report, DRA and DRC also filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Fresno, California on behalf of three youth confined in the Juvenile Hall and Crossroads facilities. DRA, DRC, the County, and the Superintendent of Schools have agreed to a stay of the federal lawsuit while the experts study the Kern County system and make recommendations.
On December 4, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California preliminarily approved a class action settlement. Class Members are all youth with mental health, behavioral, learning, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and/or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act who are currently detained, or who will be detained at the Kern County Juvenile Facilities (Juvenile Hall, Crossroads, and Camp Erwin Owen). Please read the Notice of Proposed Settlement for information about the proposed settlement and class members’ rights. A copy of the preliminarily approved Settlement Agreement with Defendant County of Kern and Kern County Probation Department is available here. A copy of the preliminarily approved Settlement Agreement with Defendant Kern County Superintendent of Schools is available here. The deadline for class members to file objections is March 16, 2020. On March 19, 2020, the Court issued an order continuing the hearing on final approval to 9 a.m. on June 8, 2020.