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Judge Approves Settlement Sharply Reducing Court Oversight in Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services Facilities

Monday, March 2, 2015
New DYRS Director Lacey pledges care for youths

(WASHINGTON, D. C.) – A D.C. Superior Court judge has preliminarily approved a settlement agreement significantly reducing court oversight and monitoring in a three-decade-old class action lawsuit on behalf of youth detained and placed in District of Columbia juvenile detention facilities, Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Acting Director Clinton Lacey announced. The case is known as Jerry M., et al. v. District of Columbia, et al.

Under the agreement signed Thursday by Judge Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., the Special Arbiter appointed by the Court will no longer review several topics in the “Jerry M. Work Plan.”  These topics include environmental health and safety, outdoor recreation, individualized education at DYRS’s Youth Services Center, restraints, and disciplinary actions.

“The partial settlement of the Jerry M. class action lawsuit represents tremendous progress in bringing this nearly 30-year-old lawsuit to an end. More importantly, it represents the tremendous progress that has been made in ensuring that our youth are subject to humane, rehabilitative, therapeutic conditions in DYRS facilities,” said Acting Director Lacey. “I would like to personally acknowledge the efforts of DYRS, OAG, Special Arbiter Grace Lopes, the Mayor’s Office, Plaintiffs’ Counsel and Judge Dixon in helping to make this possible. You have my word that I am committed to continuing to ensure that DYRS provides our youth with the best care possible such that continuing court oversight is not necessary.”

Attorney General Racine said, “We are very pleased that significant progress has been made in efforts to resolve this longstanding lawsuit against the District. We look forward to the day that this case and several other major lawsuits involving government services can be dismissed so that court supervision no longer is necessary over some of the District’s important services.”

The Attorney General commended Deputy Attorney General Ellen Efros, Grace Graham, former Chief of the Public Interest Division’s Equity Section, and Assistant Attorney General Chad Copeland for their work on the case.

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