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Juveniles' Right To Treatment Denied

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Incarcerated juveniles do not have constitutional rights to rehabilitative treatment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled last month.

In consolidated cases filed on behalf of juveniles incarcerated at two state-run detention centers in Puerto Rico, the appeals court ruled that a state "has no constitutional obligation" to provide treatment for juveniles within its custody.

The suit, Santana v. Collazo, had challenged conditions of confinement--including mail censorship, restrictive visiting policies, poor medical care, poor educational opportunities, unqualified staff, and overuse of solitary confinement--at Mayaguez Training Center and the Maricao Juvenile Camp in Puerto Rico. The class action was originally filed in 1975, according to Harry Swanger, an attorney with the National Juvenile Law Center in St. Louis.

Mr. Swanger, who represented the juveniles, has filed for a rehearing by the full bench of the court.


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