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The DOJ reports a Connecticut juvenile prison violated rights by keeping inmates out of school

Matthias Müller

A Connecticut juvenile prison violated the constitutional rights of children by placing their prisoners in solitary confinement and keeping them from school, according to an investigation by the Department of Justice.

The Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, which bar excessive punishment and provide equal protection under the law. The DOJ report also found the prison violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when some child inmates were kept from school and special education services. It said they were isolated in bare cells for 23 hours a day.

Also, in Manson’s high school program, classes were frequently canceled because of teacher absences, trainings and lockdowns. Even when classes weren’t canceled, the DOJ said, students rarely attended the full five hours a day.

The DOJ is continuing to investigate and seeking help from the community. It said if the state does not correct the problems in 49 days, it may initiate a lawsuit.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.