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.
Encouragingly, the County and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools have responded very responsibly to our investigation. They have already introduced some changes, and they have agreed to bring in several independent experts to assess the County system and make recommendations for reform. We hope that our investigation and the involvement of the experts will lead to meaningful reform, and that the young people with disabilities in Kern County’s care will soon be receiving the supports and services they need.
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.