U.S. Court orders Broome County Jail to limit teen confinement - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Court orders Broome County Jail to limit teen confinement

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DICKINSON (WBNG) -- The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York has granted a motion for a preliminary injunction after representatives of two teens filed a class-action lawsuit against the Broome County Jail.

The lawsuit against Broome County Sheriff David Harder, Jail Administrator Mark Smolinksy, Deputy Administrator Kevin Moore and the Binghamton City School District challenges the solitary confinement of 16 and 17-year-olds.

According to the court document filed Wednesday, the lawsuit claims that, "Despite an emerging consensus that solitary confinement places juveniles at risk of serious harm-including suicide, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder- and despite a national abandonment of solitary confinement of juveniles, the Broome County Sheriff's Office has embraced the frequent and arbitrary use of solitary confinement."

The jail is restricted from imposing 23-hour disciplinary isolation of juveniles, according to the court.

The order states that, "Under no circumstances shall a juvenile be locked in their cell for greater than four hours for disciplinary purposes."

If a juvenile is still a threat to the safety and security of the facility after four hours, the court ordered that a psychiatrist should be consulted and a plan put in place to ensure their safe return to general population.

The injunction also dictates that all juveniles have access to at least three hours of educational instruction each day.

Sheriff Harder told 12 News on Thursday that he disagrees with the order, specifically claims by a psychologist who criticized the jail's practices, but will abide by the ruling and obey the court order. He also said more meetings between the two sides are forthcoming.

Wednesday's court document on the lawsuit and conclusion can be viewed below.

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