Judge's Ruling Ends Juvenile Solitary Confinement In Rutherford County

Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 18:48:59-04

A federal judge ruled that Rutherford County must stop solitary confinement for juvenile offenders at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Facility.

The detention center's discipline practices came under when a suit was filed last year.

A mother of a 15-year-old who was held in solitary confinement for several days last year sued Rutherford County and the State with the help of the ACLU.

"He was accused of acting up in class. That was really the extent of it," attorney Mark Downton said.

Downton is a cooperating attorney with the ACLU and helped on the case. He said solitary confinement is a violation of constitutional rights.

"The evidence seems to show that it makes kids depressed, anxious, and particularly far more likely to commit suicide while they're in juvenile detention," he said. 

The lawsuit was filed last April and looks to permanently stop the use of solitary confinement in Rutherford County and across the state. It is now a class action lawsuit. This week a federal judge ruled that solitary confinement violates constitutional rights to be free from inhumane treatment, the judge granted an injunction.

Our attempts to reach Juvenile Judge Donna Scott Davenport for comment were not successful.