Court Battles

NAACP sues South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice over ‘barbaric’ detention conditions

The NAACP has sued the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) over the living conditions at the agency’s facilities, which the civil rights group says house mostly Black children.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina alleges that more than 250 children detained by the DJJ “routinely” endure violence, isolation and lack of adequate educational or mental health services, according to the NAACP.

The organization specifically cited one child, who it said struggles with verbal communication but only received one day of education over nine months in a DJJ facility.

The agency also allegedly uses nearly full day solitary confinement “to house sick kids, ‘protect’ children from violence, or address even the most minor of infractions,” the NAACP said.

Additionally, the organization alleged children in DJJ facilities are subjected to unsanitary conditions including sewage in their cells, feces on the walls and cockroaches in their food.

“South Carolina exposes the children in its juvenile justice system — most of whom are Black — to barbaric conditions,” Brenda Murphy, president of the NAACP South Carolina State Conference of Branches, said in a statement.

“Our most vulnerable children must receive support, not punishment,” she added.  

The case was brought by the NAACP’s South Carolina State Conference along with rights groups Disability Rights South Carolina and Justice 360. 

The Hill has reached out to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice for comment. 

Tags NAACP South Carolina South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

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