Progress cited at Oklahoma juvenile lockup

BY JULIE BISBEE Modified: December 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm •  Published: December 6, 2008
Federal monitors who visited a maximum-security juvenile lockup facility this week found conditions have improved since a lawsuit was filed two years ago over the treatment of offenders at the L.E. Rader Center.

Gene Christian, executive director of the state Office of Juvenile Affairs, told agency board members Friday that monitors at the Sand Springs facility Monday found the conditions improved.

Some monitors met with offenders who said they "don’t fear for their safety and because of that are now able to concentrate on their treatment,” he said.

"We haven’t seen that in the past,” Christian said.

The visits are part of a consent decree that lets federal investigators monitor changes in the education, living conditions and protection of juvenile offenders. The decree ended the litigation and was finalized in September.

In 2006, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division filed a federal lawsuit against the state alleging policies and conditions at Rader did not address the mental health or educational needs of offenders.