Judge rules minors to be transferred from detention facility
Minors housed at the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas, will be leaving the facility after allegations of abuse and mistreatment surfaced. The children at the facility entered the country with their parents illegally and were separated or had arrived on their own.
U.S District Judge Dolly Gee says the facility violated a 1997 court settlement on how children must be cared for while under the supervision of the United States Government.
The Department of Health and Human Services is the government agency that oversees the facility. Judge Gee ruled the transfer of the children based on three findings:
- The facility provided psychotropic drugs to children without parental consent
- Minors were kept in overly-restrictive confinement
- The minors were not allowed to make private phone calls
Treatment at the facility questioned
The Department of Health and Human Services said the facility detains minors with mental health issues that require security measures. However, the ruling states operators at the facility may have been too aggressive with treatments.
The court found a boy was denied water and suffered additional abuse when he tried to leave a secured room to find it on his own. The ruling did not include language about shutting the facility down.
Advocates happy about the transfer
Advocacy groups on behalf of the minors have long been vocal about conditions at the Shiloh facility and are pleased about the transfer. The facility has had a troubling history with allegations of violence and excessive physical restraints. Due to the allegations, several state agencies have investigated the conditions at the facility. Shiloh officials said in a public statement, “The children have been found to be properly cared for and treated.”
Most minors under government custody in the U.S. are in non-secure facilities. The rest are in higher-security facilities like Shiloh with staff trained to control violent behavior. Under these circumstances, it is important that proper treatment is strictly adhered to at all times.