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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Justice Department Alleges Conditions at Boyd County Detention Center Violate the Constitution

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded an investigation into conditions at the Boyd County Detention Center in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The Justice Department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that conditions at the Jail violate the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Specifically, the Department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that Boyd County routinely subjects prisoners to excessive force through the use of chemical agents, electronic control devices, and restraint chairs. The Department also concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe Boyd County routinely violates prisoners’ rights to bodily privacy through its use of restraint chairs.    

As required by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), the Department provided the Jail written notice of the supporting facts for these alleged conditions and the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them.   

“The Constitution guarantees all prisoners the reasonable expectation of personal privacy and the right to be free from excessive use of force,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation found reasonable cause to believe that the Jail inflicts punishment without justification and fails to protect its prisoners’ reasonable expectations of privacy. The Justice Department hopes to continue to work with the Jail to resolve the Department’s concerns.”

The Civil Rights Division initiated the investigation in November 2016 under CRIPA, which authorizes the Department to take action to address a pattern or practice of deprivation of constitutional rights of individuals confined to state or local government-run correctional facilities. 

This investigation was conducted by attorneys with the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
19-174
Updated April 3, 2019