Committee Files Motion for Preliminary Injunction on Behalf of Immigrant Children Detained in Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center

On February 28, 2018, the Plaintiffs, three unaccompanied immigrant minors who are represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Wiley Rein LLP, filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in a putative class action lawsuit they have brought against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (“SVJC”), the secure detention facility in Staunton, Virginia, where they are or were being held. The Motion is supported by declarations from the Plaintiffs, as well as three youths who were previously detained at SVJC, and their collective testimony paints a vivid and disturbing portrait of a facility in which traumatized young people are goaded into confrontations with staff and then subjected to degrading and harmful punishments such as shackling of their hands and feet, the use of a restraint chair, and/or prolonged periods of solitary confinement. One of Plaintiffs’ experts, clinical psychological Dr. Gregory N. Lewis, described such treatment of traumatized young people as “highly unusual” and “border[ing] on a form of torture.”

In light of the horrific abuses to which Plaintiffs and other immigrant detainees have been subjected by SVJC staff, and the failure of SVJC to provide them with even minimally adequate, trauma-informed mental health care, the Plaintiffs have asked U.S. District Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon to intervene by prohibiting the most harmful practices while the litigation proceeds.

Read the motion here…

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