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Jun 29, 2007

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cory needs our help by tomorrow!
A juvenile psychologist made a wrong diagnosis on Cory! The doctor referred that diagnosis to Probation, who gave it to the court! Judge Devaney went along with the decision of placing him into a residential treatment facility! Cory has been assaulted by other teens, over medicated, and has become over weight with a weight gain of 52 pounds sent he has been in the facility. "NO" excercise program in the facility. The facility is located in El Centro CA. The heat there is at 115 degrees on most days. Corys birth date of 10/29/90 is what they ID him with. Cory's probation officer is Sonya Caeballos. She refuses to sign a release. I need all my members and friends to send an e-mail to the Chief of Probation asking for a release based on what I have told you. So lets get to work and get him home! Thank you for your support!
 Cory is 16 and was placed into juvenile hall in Kearny Mesa CA 92101. On January 28th he went to court and Judge Devaney in Department 6, decided that he would like Cory to be placed back into the hall until a psychological evaluation could be done. On February 28th, 2007 he went back to the court to get the decision on placement . The judge was busy and so his mom was asked to go to department 6 before judge Meza. Mom was not told she had the right to make a decision to wait and procede in Department 6. Present in courtroom six was Cory, Corys attorney appointed by the court Mr. Rubin, Cory's mom, and probation. Dr. Thomas Barnes a forensics juvenile psychologist, made an inaccurate evaluation on Cory and gave that report to the screening panel in the probation department. Probation gave that report to the judge. The DA who was Nancy Truitt fabricated some issues concerning an issue of mom getting her son out of an residential treatment plan then! NO relevance to the reason we were there. The attorney and mom both agreed with Cory that placement into the drug dorm in the Rancho Del Campo facility would be appropriate. The DA said they weren't in a trial, and the judge got angry and said she was going to go along with probation officers decision to place him into a residential facility. The judge never even bothered to look at a two page letter that Cory's own physician wrote to the court. Cory has severe ADHD Bipolar disorder and has been treated since 1st grade. Dr. Barnes report was totally different! It was lunch hour and the judge was in a hurry to leave! The judge said her decision was final. The attorney and I both along with Cory and mom told the judge that the court was setting him up for failure. The judge did not listen to a word anyone was saying. We left and Mom had to get another hearing on her own. On May 1st we were given another hearing because I sent in a form requesting it from the presiding judge. I had asked for a new judge and a new DA. That request was not met and we were sent back to Judge Meza. The judge did not even let us speak! It was a mere two minutes and nothing was changed! Cory was placed into Kelly Residential Facility in El Centro California, about 160 miles from their home in Lakeside CA. The facility has NO exercise program for the kids, and Cory has gained 52 pounds and now at almost 200 pounds. This is very dangerous for him because in the past he's had trouble with high blood pressure! They do not monitor him for that. This center is supposed to be a drug rehab, but is only a locked facility. They have nothing for the boys to do except sit, eat and sleep. They get home passes every other weekend. Cory went home once. It has been over a month of denied home passes. I get calls from Cory in a distraught , depressive state, suggesting he has been abused by staff. On Saturday June 30th another call from him saying he was almost hit by the staff there twice! They suggested that if I complained about the facility one more time he would get terminated and then may get placed farther away from home, such as Fresno or Sacramento CA. Cory was very depressed and crying hysterically, saying"I want to go home"! I tried to get him to calm down so I could speak with him. Then he had to hang up. I was very worried and called the El Centro Sheriffs Department to do a welfare check to make sure things were o.k. . The Sheriffs did go there, but I got no report back. Sunday July 1st, 2007 I received a call from Cory in the afternoon. Cory said he was ok, and I told him we were trying to get him home, but that the court had not yet gotten back with me or the attorney.  At approximately 4:00pm I got a call from the mom saying that Cory and another boy AWOL'ed from the facility and that the Sheriffs were looking for him. Worried and didn't know why he did it, or what to think, other than we had told the court this may happen. They didn't listen to us, and mom signed NO paperwork for the facility! Mom made stipulations concerning his medications, psychiatrist and physician, must remain the same. They changed them and his medications were upped to high! Now Cory was over medicated and not monitored for his blood pressure, putting him into jeopardy. Then on Monday morning after speaking with Cory's probation officer the U.S. Marshalls and probation went to search Corys house with NO warrant, just a fourth waiver! They didn't knock at the door, but asked the manager of the apartments to unlock the door. The manager didn't unlock the door, but knocked and then the Marshalls just walked intoC orys home. Mom had just come back into the house and did not know Cory and his friend were hiding in the bathroom. The marshalls had a picture of the other boy, but they let him go. Cory was arrested and placed back into juvenile hall in Kearny Mesa CA. This Thursday on July 5th, 2007he has  to be in court. I am so tired of them locking kids up for stupid petty stuff. Every time its a violation of probation, for curfew, school, which once he was out of school with pneumonia and he was arrested! It's never going to stop! May be retaliation to my organization trying to get change and reform for the system! The BIG thing for the juvenile justice system is to place as many kids into the residential treatment facilities that they can. The county does nothing about these issues! Why? They are making money off of recycling kids like Cory! I don't know what you can do to help us to get Cory home, but I would appreciate an investigation into all the corruption that has happened here! I will also send a copy of this letter to the Grand Jury.Last night on July 3rd, Cory placed a blanket over his window, the staff came in and pepper sprayed him and made him sleep with no pillow or blankets!  Cory's mom is very upset with the whole system and what they have done to her son! She asks that each and everyone of you who read this sign the petitions and e-mail a letter to the chief of probation ASAP! Thank you all for helping this sad situation.

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Posted: Jun 29, 2007 12:57am
May 7, 2007

Juvenile detention sites under scrutiny

Youths mistreated, law firm alleges :

April 19, 2006 Lawyers for a prison rights law firm are raising allegations of mistreatment in San Diego County juvenile halls, claiming some youths are subjected to a "serious risk of violence" while in detention.

The firm, which teamed up with the small but influential Prison Law Office to sue about conditions in jails statewide, says it found abuse in the use of pepper spray, misuse of medications, lack of medical care and improper isolation of youths in an investigation of local facilities that began last year.

The allegations were outlined for Chief Probation Officer Vincent Iaria in a March 14 letter, which was obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune through the California Public Records Act.

In the letter, lawyers for the firm Bingham McCutchen of San Francisco described "alarming" conditions in four county juvenile-detention facilities – in Kearny Mesa, Campo, Camp Barrett and the newest hall at East Mesa near the international border.

The allegations, based on interviews with a dozen detained youths, some parents and other sources, include:

Excessive use of pepper spray on youths in custody. One youth said he was sprayed in the anus while sitting on the toilet. Others reported being sprayed or seeing others being sprayed for minor reasons, such as not keeping their hands in the correct position while walking.

The lawyers contend that some juveniles had to wait more than 30 minutes before being taken to a shower to rinse off the spray. Others, they said, were treated more harshly.

"The pain from being pepper-sprayed appears to be purposefully exacerbated by staff who place the juveniles in a hot shower afterward followed by a drying off period using cold air from a large fan while the juveniles are still in their wet clothes," the lawyers wrote.

Deficient medical and mental health care. A "disturbingly large" number of youths said they were being prescribed Seraquil, a psychotropic drug used to treat certain bipolar disorders. Some juveniles said they were being given the drug – which can make people lethargic – to help them sleep.

"At best Seraquil is being administered unnecessarily," the lawyers said. "At worst it is being administered in order to ease the staff's work by making the juvenile population easier to control."

"Appalling conditions" in the administrative segregation unit at East Mesa, a $52 million facility opened in 2004. "Here, juveniles are isolated in their cells more than 23 hours a day, for weeks and even months on end," the lawyers wrote.

Such a practice, known as "23/1", was used for years by the California Youth Authority, the state's juvenile detention system. The practice was stopped after the Prison Law Office sued the state three years ago over conditions in the facilities.

That lawsuit was settled. State officials agreed to improve conditions and stop certain practices, several of which the lawyers now contend are in use in county detention halls in San Diego and elsewhere in the state.

The March 14 letter requested a meeting with county officials to try to resolve the issues raised "without protracted and expensive litigation."

County lawyers responded by asking for more details substantiating the allegations, such as dates or names of individuals who claim they were mistreated.

In the meantime, the county is bracing for a suit. Citing that possibility, probation officials issued a statement from Iaria in which he largely defended the county's system.

"All detention facilities are meticulously inspected by local, state and federal agencies regularly," he said. "All facilities have been consistently found to meet or exceed regulations."

Iaria also said the department is conducting an inquiry into the allegations, but argued that the lawyers' letter "assumes without further support that the limited number of alleged incidents is indicative of the juvenile facilities as a whole."

The local investigation is part of a campaign by a coalition of law firms, led by Prison Law Office, aimed at changing the conditions at county-run juvenile facilities across the state.

Lawyers will hold a news conference today in San Francisco to announce a lawsuit against theCorrections Standards Authority, the state agency responsible for overseeing juvenile halls.

The lawsuit wants the state authority to enforce its standards at local juvenile halls and will include details from investigations the law firms have conducted in San Diego and other counties, said Frank Pizzurro, a spokesman for the law firms.

Don Specter, executive director of Prison Law Office, declined yesterday to comment on the legal action expected today.

Prison Law Office has a history of successfully suing state officials over conditions behind bars, from medical care to use of force by guards. The court victories have resulted in wide-ranging and often costly changes.

State law says juvenile facilities cannot be mini-jails, but must be more like "a safe and supportive homelike environment." The lawyers working for reform say the county is failing to meet that standard, and should do so or risk being sued.

This is not the first time the county has faced litigation over its juvenile-detention system. In 1990, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties sued on the same grounds, that the "homelike" environment standard was not being met because of chronic overcrowding at the Juvenile Hall in Kearny Mesa.

That suit led to court-ordered caps on the number of children who could be housed at the aging hall. The burgeoning population was one of the several reasons the county built the East Mesa facility.

In his statement yesterday, Iaria defended medical care in the county juvenile system and said the Kearny Mesa facility is one of only seven in the state to be accredited by the California Medical Association. He said complaints of misconduct by probation officers is "rare" but investigated thoroughly.

County officials have also taken issue with how the law firm conducted the investigation, which started late last year after the firm said it received reports of poor conditions in county facilities.

The law firm sent a batch of letters addressed to youths, apparently asking if they wished to speak about the conditions.

When county lawyers found out about the mailing, they pressed attorneys from Bingham McCutchen to say how they obtained the names of juveniles, according to correspondence obtained by the Union-Tribune.

Most juvenile records are confidential, and county lawyers said that breaching that secrecy can be a crime.

On Nov. 18, 2005, two lawyers from the firm tried to contact seven youths who had responded to the letters but were turned away.

In a Dec. 27 letter to lawyer Monty Agarwal, Senior Deputy County Counsel William Pettingill asked Agarwal to reveal how the lawyers obtained the names of the youths in custody.

Agarwal declined in a Jan. 5 letter, in which he also criticized the county for turning away the lawyers the previous month.

On Jan. 10, Pettingill wrote that the matter was being referred to the District Attorney's Office.

Since then, the county has allowed the lawyers access to some juveniles, Agarwal said this week.

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Posted: May 7, 2007 10:04pm
Apr 26, 2007
Focus: Children
Action Request: Petition
Location: California, United States   

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Posted: Apr 26, 2007 6:28pm


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Mary Woodward
, 1, 1 child
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