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Case Study of the Response of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act Consent Decree

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2012
95 pages
This study examined the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections' (ADJC's) response over time after initial compliance with a Federal consent decree that mandated specific remedies for documented civil rights violations of juveniles in secure custody.
The consent decree was instituted pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which allows the U.S. Justice Department to investigate allegations of civil rights violations of institutionalized persons in State custodial facilities. The investigating agency may than enter into consent decrees or file motions of contempt in order to gain compliance by State agencies found to be in violation of the CRIPA standards. This study found that significant changes were made in each of the 16 areas of the consent decree. The efforts to prevent suicide were particularly notable. The remedies included both hardware and human responses, suggesting the importance of a broad and integrated approach to this issue. Given the focus of this study on long-term compliance with CRIPA, researchers were impressed that these changes have been sustained over time, even during budget cutbacks. The roles of both internal and external institutional pressures were significant factors in these changes, as well as the ability to sustain them over time. Holding the ADJC accountable by the commitment of external stakeholders (sovereigns) was a key to successful and sustained change. The study focused on the processes leading to Federal intervention; the resulting changes in the immediate months after the investigation; the status of services and quality of care after a reduction of funding for the agency; and how selected juvenile court jurisdictions perceive and respond to the changes. The study reviewed relevant documents and conducted interviews with key personnel (e.g., judges and administrators). 2 figures, 1 table, 90 references, and appended chronology of case events

Date Published: November 1, 2012