In July 2023, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of a young person housed at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center in a challenge to conditions at the facility. For many years, the Franklin County JDC detained hundreds of youth as young as 11 years old from multiple counties across Southern Illinois.  Our client – and other youth detained at the facility – describe being locked into cells the size of parking spaces for 20 to 24 hours a day, with bright, overhead fluorescent lights that never turn off.

In addition to these conditions, the youth held at the facility were not provided any meaningful mental health care or allowed to attend school. The education program, for example, consisted of youth being given a series of worksheets to complete on their own with no feedback. 

The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice audited the facility, reporting on many of the conditions identified in the lawsuit and suggesting that the facility is “in crisis.” Our complaint seeks class certification to represent all of the young people detained at the facility. 

The Franklin County JDC closed in early January 2024. We are investigating the closuere to ensure that it is permanent, and continue to investigate other detention centers across Illinois. 


Kevin Fee, Camille Bennett, Alexis Picard

Date filed

June 30, 2023