Ohio Pledges Better Conditions for Youth

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Ohio plans to pour an extra $20 million to $30 million into its juvenile detention system to relieve overcrowding, improve care and reduce recidivism.

The plan, filed last month in federal court to settle a lawsuit with child advocacy lawyers, says the state’s Department of Youth Services will hire more mental health workers, social workers and teachers; release some detainees; divert more convicted youths to community treatment facilities; and hire 115 more guards.

The state operates eight juvenile detention facilities that hold 1,585 inmates.

Three class-action lawsuits have been filed against the system since 2004. The attorneys representing juvenile offenders say the youths are not properly rehabilitated, spend too much time locked in their cells and do not receive proper treatment for mental and physical illnesses.