D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced the end of court oversight and monitoring of District’s juvenile detention facilities, 35 years after a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of youth in the city system.
D.C. Superior Court approved ending the city’s oldest consent decree case during a virtual hearing Tuesday morning, at which Bowser spoke.
“This milestone reflects our D.C. values and recognizes our collective and ongoing commitment to providing court-involved youth and their families the highest quality of services,” the mayor said in a statement afterward. “We are proud that [the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services] has transformed into a national leader in the juvenile justice space, consistently demonstrating that through a focus on restorative justice, love, and empowerment, we can change lives and continuously reimagine how we serve and improve the lives of our young people, their families, and our entire community.”
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said the move “ensures that vulnerable children are protected.”
“The District and DYRS will have important flexibility and independence in continuing to provide needed services to our youth,” Racine said. “This resolution represents a major milestone for the District’s ability to enhance public safety by meeting the rehabilitative needs of our young people and demonstrates that we are fully capable of controlling our justice system.”
Since the lawsuit was filed in 1985, the District has taken numerous steps to strengthen its juvenile justice system, including the creation of DYRS and opening modern facilities ranging from education to medical and behavioral health services, the mayor’s office said.