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Special Litigation : Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section

The Special Litigation Section is one of several Sections in the Civil Rights Division. We work to protect civil rights in the following areas: 1) the rights of people in state or local institutions, including: jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and health care facilities for persons with disabilities; 2) the rights of individuals with disabilities to receive services in their communities, rather than in institutions; 3) the rights of people who interact with state or local police or sheriffs' departments; 4) the rights of youth involved in the juvenile justice system; 5) the rights of people to have safe access to reproductive health care clinics; and 6) the rights of people to practice their religion while confined to state and local institutions. We can also act on behalf of people at risk of harm in these areas.

Special Litigation News
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The United States has taken legal action to ensure that critically important reforms are put in place to address conduct at Rikers Island that has violated the constitutional rights of New York City's youngest inmates.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department's civil rights investigation into the use of force by the Cleveland Division of Police has found a pattern or practice of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force.

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Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and DOJ's Civil Rights Division clarifying that those juvenile justice residential facilities that receive Federal funding, like all other public schools, must comply with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability.
The United States Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico, and the City of Albuquerque are seeking interested individuals or firms to serve as the Independent Monitor, either as the lead Monitor or as a subject-matter expert on the Monitor's team.
Findings Report and Agreement in Principle Regarding the Newark Police Department
In May 2014, the Department of Justice and private plaintiffs reached an agreement with the state of Ohio, under which the State Department of Youth Services will dramatically reduce, and eventually eliminate, its use of seclusion on young people in its custody.
After a systemwide investigation, the Department of Justice found that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections uses solitary confinement in ways that violate the rights of prisoners with serious mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
The Justice Department and Education Department join in this Statement of Interest to affirm and clarify the protections afforded to youth with disabilities by title II of the ADA, the IDEA, and their implementing regulations, where the plaintiffs have alleged violations based on the denial of special education and related services when youth are locked in solitary confinement at a juvenile hall.
The Justice Department opened a pattern or practice investigation of the Family Court (Juvenile Court) of St. Louis County, Missouri. The investigation focuses on whether the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to all children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and whether the court's administration of juvenile justice provides equal protection rights to all children regardless of race. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 855-228-2151.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the City of Meridian, Miss.; Lauderdale County, Miss.; judges of the Lauderdale County Youth Court; and the state of Mississippi alleging that the defendants systematically violate the due process rights of juveniles. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at
On December 2, 2011, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas E. Perez sent identical letters to more than 150 local law enforcement agencies in Alabama, informing them of the Divisionís monitoring activities and reminding them of their obligations to engage in non-discriminatory policing. Read More
General Information Special Litigation Section
Jonathan M. Smith
Special Litigation Section
(202) 514-6255
toll-free at (877) 218-5228

FAX - (202) 514-0212
Alt. FAX - (202) 514-6273
Email -
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