Justice Department Alleges Conditions at South Carolina’s Broad River Road Complex Violate the Constitution
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina today concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions at the Broad River Road Complex in Columbia, South Carolina, violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Specifically, the Department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Broad River Road Complex fails to protect youth from youth-on-youth violence and places youth in punitive, prolonged isolation.
As required by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), the Department provided the facility with written notice of the supporting facts for these alleged conditions and the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them.
“Youth held in custody for rehabilitation are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees reasonable safety from harm,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation found reasonable cause to conclude that youth in the facility are at substantial risk of serious physical harm from other youth and that youth are regularly subjected to harmful isolation. The Justice Department hopes to continue to work with South Carolina to resolve the Department’s concerns.”
The Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for District of South Carolina initiated the investigation in September 2017 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. The investigation was also initiated under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
This investigation was conducted by attorneys with the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.