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Despite ban, King County still putting youth in solitary confinement

Two years ago the King County Council banned the use of solitary confinement on young people. But a new report says it’s still happening.

A County Council committee will discussed that report from an independent monitor Tuesday.

Council Chairman Rod Dembowski said he’s particularly concerned that the facilities aren't keeping clear records about how and why solitary is being used.

“We required in the legislation that data be kept, that reports be prepared. And one wonders when that's not happening, what's going on —and frankly whether or not we have the whole picture," Dembowski said.

Under current policy, the county can still place young people in isolation in certain situations, but only as a last resort, in cases of imminent and significant physical harm.

It's unclear if that standard is being applied.

The ban was passed after a federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of four teenagers formerly jailed in a King County solitary confinement unit. In August the county settled the suit, paying $240,000 to the teens and their families, including legal costs.

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