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Press Release

Justice Department Announces Investigation into Conditions at Boyd County Detention Center

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that it has opened an investigation into the conditions at the Boyd County Detention Center in Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from the use of excessive force, whether prisoners are subject to an invasion of their bodily privacy and whether the jail indiscriminately uses restrictive housing without due process.

“Our Constitution protects prisoners against excessive force, violations of their bodily privacy and improper use of restrictive housing,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We will conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation guided by the facts and the law.”

The department has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter.  The investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).  Under CRIPA, the department has the authority to investigate violations of prisoners’ constitutional rights that result from a “pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of such rights.”  The department has conducted CRIPA investigations of many correctional systems, and where violations have been found, the resulting settlement agreements have led to important reforms.

The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is conducting this investigation.  Individuals with relevant information are encouraged to contact the department via phone at 844-491-4947 (starting on Nov. 9, 2016) or by email at

Updated November 1, 2016

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 16-1279