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Conditions At SC Youth Detention Center Violate The Constitution, Dept. Of Justice Alleges

Broad River Road Complex “fails to protect youth from youth-on-youth violence,” the DOJ said Wednesday.

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Court officials concluded Wednesday that “there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions at the Broad River Road Complex in Columbia, South Carolina, violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,” a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release said.

“Specifically, the Department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Broad River Road Complex fails to protect youth from youth-on-youth violence and places youth in punitive, prolonged isolation,” the release said.

According to the release, the DOJ provided the facts of their concluded investigation, “as required by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA),” and gave the Broad River Road Complex “the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them.”

“Youth held in custody for rehabilitation are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees reasonable safety from harm,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said. “Our investigation found reasonable cause to conclude that youth in the facility are at substantial risk of serious physical harm from other youth and that youth are regularly subjected to harmful isolation.

“The Justice Department hopes to continue to work with South Carolina to resolve the Department’s concerns.”

The investigation began in September 2017 “under CRIPA, which authorizes the Department to take action to address a pattern or practice of deprivation of constitutional rights of individuals confined to state or local government-run correctional facilities,” the release said.

The facility is no stranger to violence. At FITSNews, we have reported on multiple prison brawls at Broad River Road complex — a campus of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) which our founding editor has called “one of the many dysfunctional agencies that make up the Palmetto State’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems” government.”

In 2016, FITSNews exclusively uncovered violence at the facility which led to a scathing report from the S.C. Legislative Audit Council (SCLAC) and the eventual resignation of former director Sylvia Murray.

FITSNews will continue to report on this story and this investigation. Stay Tuned.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …


Mandy Matney

Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].

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