ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE
Richard A. Waples Jeffrey A. Modisett Indiana Advocates For Children, Inc.
JauNae M. Hanger Attorney General of Indiana Greta M. Rowland
Waples & Hanger Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana Phillip D. Hatfield
Deputy Attorney General Juvenile Justice Task Force, Inc.
Kenneth J. Falk Wayne O. Adams III
Indiana Civil Liberties Union Jon Laramore David D. Robinson
Indianapolis, Indiana Deputy Attorney General Johnson, Smith, Pence, Densborn,
Indianapolis, Indiana Wright & Heath
DONNA RATLIFF ) Appellant (Plaintiff ), ) ) v. ) 49S02-9710-CV-529 ) EDWARD COHN, ) Appellee (Defendant ). ) ________________________________________________
APPEAL FROM MARION SUPERIOR COURT The Honorable Patrick L. McCarty, Judge Cause No. 49D03-9606-CT-0784_________________________________________________
On May 8, 1995, the appellant-plaintiff, fourteen-year-old Donna Ratliff, set fire to her family home, killing her mother and sixteen-year-old sister. Charged as an adult, she pled guilty to arson, a class A felony, and two counts of reckless homicide, class C felonies. The trial court ordered her to serve concurrent sentences of twenty-five years for arson and four years for each reckless homicide conviction. Although the trial court
recommended placement in an alternative facility,See footnote
the Indiana Department of Corrections
("DOC") instead placed her in the Indiana Adult Women's Prison ("Women's Prison").See footnote
Once inside the Women's Prison, Ratliff was placed in the Special Needs Unit, separated
from the general prison population.
In her civil complaint against the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Corrections ("the Commissioner"), Ratliff contended that the conditions of her incarceration violated the Indiana and United States Constitutions. She sought declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the Department of Corrections ("DOC") to transfer her from the Indiana Women's Prison to a rehabilitative juvenile treatment facility.
The Commissioner moved to dismiss the complaint under Trial Rules 12(B)(6) (failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted) and 12(B)(1) (lack of subject- matter jurisdiction). Without specifying the basis for its ruling, the trial court granted the motion. Ratliff appealed and, in a cursory opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Article 9, Section 2 of the Indiana Constitution "prohibits the incarceration of juveniles with adult prisoners." Ratliff v. Cohn, 679 N.E.2d 985, 988 (Ind.Ct.App.
We granted transfer.
Delegate Bryant (Dec. 18, 1850), in 2 Report of the Debates and Proceedings of
the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Indiana,
1203 (Indiana Historical Collections Reprint, 1935). When this provision was
subsequently discussed at the convention, Delegate James Bryant of Warren County
moved to amend the proposed language to state that the General Assembly shall provide
Houses of Refuge, "so as to make it obligatory upon the General Assembly to provide
houses of refuge for juvenile offenders, instead of referring the subject to the discretion of
that body, as proposed by the reported section." Id. at 1903 (Jan. 29, 1851). He justified
this amendment by stating, "Since this Convention assembled, we have had a state of
facts presented to us, such as I had previously no conception of." Id. That previously
unknown information involved the fact that "more than one-eighth of the whole number"
of convicts committed to the Indiana State prison from September, 1822, to November,
1850, "were minors within the age of twenty-one years, and some of these as young as
eleven years of age." Id. (emphasis in original). Delegate Bryant described this as an
"outrage upon civilization and humanity," concluding that he was "persuaded that if these
facts had been spread before the public, such a deep disgrace to the character of Indiana
would long since have been swept away by the fierce indignation of the people." Id.
Delegate Bryant then concluded that "the object of all punishment" was "two-fold: the prevention of crime and the reformation of the offender." Id. He questioned how the framers could "propose to diminish crime" or "reform offenders" with a system which sends "the children of the State, perhaps the victims of dissolute parents and neglected
education, to this school of vice and infamy, where they cannot fail by means of the
associations into which you thrust them, to be irretrievably ruined?" Id. He urged,
"There is in this Convention, I am sure, but one feeling in regard to this matter, and that
is, that this outrage upon all propriety and humanity shall no longer be." Id. He
concluded, "With such facts before us, it is the imperative duty of the Convention to
arrest this evil, to prevent this iniquitous system from being any longer tolerated, and to
compel the General Assembly to provide institutions where these juvenile offenders can
be restrained, and at the same time reformed." Id.
Delegate James Lockhart of Posey and Vanderburgh Counties echoed Delegate Bryant's indignation, arguing that "there is no question that can be presented for the consideration of this Convention, that is of more importance than this." Comments of Delegate Lockhart (Jan. 29, 1850), in 2 Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, 1903 (Indiana Historical Collections Reprint, 1935). He noted that, "Having occupied for several years past a high judicial position, I have often been pained to see the youth, the mere boy, branded as a felon, under our laws, and sent for a series of years to that worst of all prisons in the United States--the Jeffersonville State prison." Id.
Delegate Bryant's amendment was adopted and the convention approved Article 9, Section 2. The resulting Constitution was thereafter ratified and became effective on November 1, 1851. Governor's Proclamation Declaring Constitution in Force (Sept. 3, 1851, in 1 Constitution Making in Indiana 1780-1850, § 149, at 420 (Charles
Clearly, there was strong support at the convention for significant change from the then-existing state of affairs regarding juvenile incarceration. We agree with Ratliff that Article 9, Section 2 "is unambiguous in requiring the legislature to provide institutions for the correction and reformation of juvenile offenders." Brief of Appellant at 11.
However, while the Constitution clearly requires the General Assembly to create a House of Refuge to provide alternative reformation and incarceration opportunities for juvenile offenders,See footnote 7 what is not clear is whether the framers intended that every juvenile convicted of an adult crime be sent to the House of Refuge.
Our review of the debates of the constitutional convention reveals no discussion of whether the House of Refuge should be the exclusive place for all juvenile offenders without regard to the nature of the juvenile's crime or the background of the juvenile offender. Noticeably absent from the text of Article 9, Section 2 is any adjective designating inclusivity, such as "all juvenile offenders," "every juvenile offender," "any juvenile offender," or "each juvenile offender." This absence is despite the fact that such adjectives were employed in many, if not most, other constitutional provisions.See footnote 8 Further,
we find no historical evidence of contemporaneous public expectation that the new
constitution was intended to prohibit the incarceration of any and every juvenile offender
in an adult prison. In fact, other than replicating the constitutional debates entries, our
search in several contemporaneous newspapersSee footnote
uncovered no mention of any public
debate or constituent reaction to Article 9, Section 2.
The General Assembly initiated the implementation of Article 9, Section 2 four years after ratification with legislation declaring that, "[t]he Constitution of the State of Indiana requires that the General Assembly shall provide houses of refuge, for the correction and reformation of juvenile offenders, and whereas, common sense and common humanity demand that some steps should be taken at once within this State to separate the youthful convict from the veteran and hardened criminal . . . ." 1855 Ind. Acts Ch. XCIII, Preamble. The Act provided that "the Governor, Treasurer of State, and Superintendent of Public Instruction . . . are hereby authorized and directed to select and purchase for the State of Indiana . . . an eligible site for a House of Refuge." Id. (§ 1). These state officials were directed to: (1) "procure plans, specifications, and estimates, for the building or buildings necessary for such House of Refuge;" (2) "prepare and mature a system for the management and government of such House of Refuge;" and (3) "ascertain what laws will be necessary to put the [House of Refuge] into successful operation." Id. (§ 3). The General Assembly provided some guidance to these officials, directing them to design the House of Refuge as "not simply a place of correction, but a
reform school, where the young convict, separated from vicious associates may, by
careful physical, intellectual, and moral training, be reformed and restored to the
community, with purposes and character fitting him for a good citizen, an honorable, and
honest man." Id. (§ 4). The resulting statutory schemeSee footnote
created "an Institution to be
known as the House of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders." 1867 Ind. Acts Ch. LX[V]II, §
1. Its Superintendent was to "employ such methods of discipline as will, as far as
possible, reform [the infants'] characters, preserve their health, promote regular
improvement in their studies, trades and employments, and secure to them fixed habits of
industry, morality and religion." Id. (§ 7).
Significantly, this legislation did not require that all youthful offenders be excluded from the state prison in favor of the House of Refuge. The statute provided the various "modes" by which the Institution would "receive into [its] care and guardianship infants under the age of eighteen years committed to their custody." Id. (§ 10). These modes were:
1. Infants committed by any Judge of a Circuit Court or Common Pleas Court on the complaint and due proof thereof, by the parent or guardian of such infant, that by reason of incorrigible or vicious conduct such infant has rendered his or her control beyond the power of such parent or guardian,
and made it manifestly requisite, that from regard to the future welfare of
such infant, and for the protection of society, he or she should be placed
under such guardianship.
2. Infants committed by the authorities aforesaid, where complaint and due proof have been made that such infant is a proper subject for the guardianship of said institution, in consequence of vagrancy, or of incorrigible or vicious conduct, and that from the moral depravity, or otherwise, of the parent or guardian in whose custody such infant may be, such parent or guardian is incapable or unwilling to exercise the proper care or discipline over such incorrigible or vicious infant.
3. Infants who are destitute of a suitable home and of adequate means of obtaining an honest living, or who are in danger of being brought up to lead an idle and immoral life, and who may be committed to the guardianship of said Institution by the Trustees of the township where such infant resides, or by the mother, when the father is dead or has abandoned his family, or is an habitual drunkard, or does not provide for their support.
In addition to these enumerated "modes," the statute also provided one other means by which an infant could be sent to the Institution:
Any infant under the age of eighteen years, who shall under [state] laws . . . be liable to confinement in the jail [or] penitentiary . . . may, at the discretion of the Court or Jury trying the cause, be placed in such Institution, until of legal age, under the exclusive control and guardianship of the . . . Institution.
Id. (§ 11) (emphasis added).
In creating the House of Refuge, the General Assembly required that, before an infant could be placed in the Institution, "the person or persons having charge of said infants, shall ascertain from the Superintendent whether they can be received." Id. (§ 15) (emphasis added). In situations when the infants could not be received into the Institution because they did not fall into one of the designated placement modes, the Act provided: "[If the infants] cannot be received into said Institution, the cases of such infants shall be
disposed of as if this act had never been passed and no proceedings taken under it." Id. (§
It is clear from these statutesSee footnote 11 --the first enacted to initiate the implementation Article 9, Section 2 and the second enacted to fulfill that constitutional mandate--that the General Assembly did not believe that its constitutional mandate required every infant to be housed in the Institution rather than in the State Prison. Furthermore, we find nothing in our review of contemporaneous writings and reports to indicate any public protest--or even any discussion--regarding the fact that the House of Refuge would not serve as the exclusive place for juvenile incarceration.
It also appears from our independent review of prison records that significant numbers of youthful offenders continued to be incarcerated in adult prison even after the creation of the House of Refuge. The "Annual Reports of the Officers and Directors of the Indiana State Prison" and the original Department of Correction Indiana State Prison logs reveal that, from 1836 through 1850--before the constitutional convention--at least two twelve-year-olds, three fourteen-year-olds, three fifteen-year-olds, five sixteen-year- olds, and thirteen seventeen-year-olds were sentenced to incarceration in the Indiana State Prison.See footnote 12 Indiana State Prison Logs: Descriptive List of Convicts on the State Prison of Indiana, Volume B, 1836-1855 (original logs located in The Indiana
Commission on Public Records, Indiana State Archives).
Significantly, during the five years after the House of Refuge was created, a substantial number of juvenile offenders were still being sentenced to the adult prison. In fact, in the five years after the House of Refuge was created, those juveniles who were sentenced to the adult prison were even younger and greater in number than those sentenced during the fourteen years preceding the constitutional convention. New incarcerations included at least 129 juveniles: three eleven-year-olds, two twelve-year- olds, four thirteen-year-olds, ten fourteen-year-olds, eleven fifteen-year-olds, thirty-four sixteen-year-olds, and sixty-five seventeen-year-olds.See footnote 13 Annual Report of the Officers and Directors of the Indiana State Prison, Documentary Journal of Indiana (1867- 1872); Indiana State Prison Logs: Descriptive List of Convicts on the State Prison of Indiana, Volume 1, 1869-1877 (original logs located in The Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indiana State Archives).See footnote 14
Several other items hold particular historical significance. Of these 129 juveniles
sentenced to adult prison after the House of Refuge opened, only 22 were thereafter
transferred to the House of Refuge after serving part of their sentences in prison.
Additionally, as the framers intended, the ratification of Article 9, Section 2 and the ultimate creation of a House of Refuge had a substantial impact on juveniles incarcerated in adult prisons, despite the fact that all juveniles were not incarcerated in juvenile institutions. Prior to the ratification of Article 9, Section 2, juveniles who committed relatively minor offenses were incarcerated with adult criminals who had committed much more serious offenses. In fact, from 1836 to 1850, the most common crime leading to juvenile incarceration in the adult prison was the minor offense of petit larceny. However, after the House of Refuge was created in 1867, the numbers of juveniles incarcerated in adult prisons for minor offenses dropped dramatically, with juveniles incarcerated in adult prisons primarily for more serious offenses, such as grand larceny and burglary.See footnote 15
Citing Acts 1945, Chapter 356, Section 22, Ratliff asserts that, "[i]t was not until
1945 that the Indiana General Assembly finally fulfilled its constitutional mandate by
statutorily prohibiting the placement of juvenile juveniles in adult institutions." Brief of
Appellant at 11. This is an inaccurate representation of the Act of 1945. While one
sentence of the Act provides that juveniles should not be detained in prison, the next
sentence specifically provided exceptions to this prohibition: "[A] child, whose habits or
conduct are deemed such as to constitute a menace to other persons, may . . . be placed in
jail or other place of detention for adults, but in a room or ward separate from adults."
1945 Ind. Acts 346 § 22 (emphasis added). Since the Constitution was ratified in 1851,
there has never been a comprehensive statutory prohibition against incarcerating certain
juveniles in adult prisons.
Further, in 1982 and 1983, successive resolutions by the 102nd and the 103rd General Assemblies recommended that Article 9, Section 2 be amended, substituting "institutions" for "Houses of Refuge." See Pub. L. No. 231-1982; Pub. L. No. 383-1983. The amended Article 9, Section 2 was adopted at the general election held Nov. 6, 1984.See footnote 16 At the time the amended Article 9, Section 2 was ratified, the Juvenile Code did not prevent the incarceration of juveniles who were waived to adult court, see Ind. Code § 31-6-1-1 et seq. (1982). Despite the opportunity to include language in the new provision reflecting that "all," "every," "any," or "each" juvenile must be incarcerated only in juvenile institutions, no such language was included.
Considering the absence of all-inclusive language in the constitutional text, the
debates at the constitutional convention, the implementing legislation enacted shortly
after the adoption of the Constitution, and the language retained when the provision was
amended in 1984, we hold that, although Article 9, Section 2 clearly requires that the
General Assembly provide institutions for juvenile offenders, it does not require that all
juveniles--irrespective of their crimes or background--be housed only in such institutions.
Accord Hunter v. State, 676 N.E.2d 14 (Ind. 1996) (addressed in detail infra under
Article 1, Section 18). We are cognizant that, "in our role as guardian of the constitution,
we are nevertheless a court and not a 'supreme legislature.'" Bunker v. Nat'l Gypsum,
441 N.E.2d 8, 11 (Ind. 1982). "The legislature has wide latitude in determining public
policy, and we do not substitute our belief as to the wisdom of a particular statute for
those of the legislature." State v. Rendleman, 603 N.E.2d 1333, 1334 (Ind. 1992).
This case is analogous to Y.A. Fleener v. Bayh, 657 N.E.2d 410 (Ind.Ct.App. 1995), trans. denied, wherein the plaintiffs challenged the state's practice of not providing appropriate residential placements for all children who are mentally ill, in violation of Article 9, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution. Similar to the provision at issue here (Article 9, Section 2), Article 9, Section 1 provides that, "It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide, by law, for the support of institutions . . . for the treatment of the insane." Ind. Const. art. 9 § 1. The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff's argument that "the constitution places upon the General Assembly the absolute duty to care for the members of this class." Y.A. Fleener, 657 N.E.2d at 417.
The court found that:
At the risk of being too simplistic in our response to this argument, we merely state that the constitutional provision is not without limitations. These limitations may be imposed by common sense, and by the constraints placed upon government to wisely distribute and apportion available funds among the various needs and programs which exist and which must be established for the welfare of all citizens. In short, the constitutional provisions are to be construed in the light of reason and the logical intendment of the framers.
The General Assembly, however, may not avoid the very real
intendment of the constitutional mandate to care for the mentally ill and
disturbed, by refusing to raise and appropriate adequate funds to provide
not unlimited care, but adequate care. In the same vein, if the General
Assembly has appropriated adequate funds and has appropriately delegated
to the executive branch of state government the duty and responsibility for
implementing an[d] carrying out the programs to meet the needs, then the
executive may not refuse to carry out its responsibility.
Id. The court then found that the "unlimited care sought by plaintiffs in this lawsuit" was
not required. Id. at 418 (emphasis added).See footnote
Because Article 9, Section 2 does not require the placement of all juveniles in a separate juvenile facility, Ratliff's claim that her incarceration in the Women's Prison
violates this provision does not state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
the life of a significant other." Id. at 15 (¶ 17). Although she does not take issue with the
individualized treatment she has received in her consultations with the prison
psychologist, she contends the group sessions have been "inappropriate for dealing with
[her] psychological problems and have had an adverse impact on [her] rehabilitation"
because she "does not share like experiences with these adult offenders, or have the
benefit of sharing therapy with her peer group" and that others "have shown hostility and
resentment toward [her] when she has participated in the group, and prison officials have
admonished her to refrain from sharing her experiences as a victim of child abuse with
the group." Id. at 15 (¶ 18).
Cases recognizing violations of Article 1, Section 15 involve situations where a prisoner was tortured, had a tooth knocked out, was repeatedly beaten, kicked, and struck with a blackjack and beaten with a rubber hose while he was stretched across a table, Kokenes v. State, 213 Ind. 476, 13 N.E.2d 524 (1938), where a prisoner was beaten with police officer's fists in both eyes, cut on the top of his head, and beaten with a rubber hose on the head and ears, Bonahoon v. State, 203 Ind. 51, 178 N.E. 570 (1931), and where a prisoner was severely injured after being shot by police during a protest, Roberts v. State, 159 Ind.App. 456, 307 N.E.2d 501 (1974).
Ratliff's treatment in prison, as asserted in her complaint, does not rise to the level of the "unnecessary rigor" contemplated by Article 1, Section 15. Ratliff's complaint has not stated a claim under Article 1, Section 15 upon which relief can be granted.
[T]he comments of the delegates reflect a patent intent to accommodate
reformation of youths by separating them from hardened criminals who are
purportedly not as susceptible to redemption. The legislature has not
frustrated this intent by setting up a statutory scheme that prohibits most
youths from being confined to an adult correctional facility. The only
youths who are not subject to this general rule are youths alleged to have
committed the most serious and violent crimes. We find it well within the
legislature's purview to conclude that this system better accommodates the
purposes behind Article I, § 18 and Article 9, § 2, because it segregates
younger and less violent offenders from the most violent offenders,
regardless of age.
Id. at 17.
Ratliff contends that reliance upon Hunter is inappropriate for several reasons. Citing the same debates at the convention as we noted above, she argues that Hunter
should be overruled because "[t]he historical record does not support" its conclusion.
Appellant's Brief in Response to Petition to Transfer at 6. She is incorrect.
Ratliff also argues that Hunter should be overruled because it has no limiting principle, as it "does not provide this Court with a principled basis to approve or disapprove any particular class of excluded juveniles." Id. In the alternative, she argues that Hunter should be distinguished because the defendant in Hunter was a sixteen-year- old male, was a violent offender with a criminal record, and was convicted of murder and burglary, whereas Ratliff is a fourteen-year-old female, a first-time offender, and was convicted of arson and two counts of reckless homicide.
However, such particularized, individual applications are not reviewable under Article 1, Section 18 because Section 18 applies to the penal code as a whole and does not protect fact-specific challenges.See footnote 19 Lowery v. State, 478 N.E.2d 1214, 1220 (Ind. 1985) (Article 1, Section 18 "applies to the penal laws as a system to insure that these laws are framed upon the theory of reformation as well as the protection of society.") (emphasis added), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1098, 106 S.Ct. 1500, 89 L.Ed.2d 900 (1986). See also Driskill v. State, 7 Ind. 338, 342-43 (1855).
Article 1, Section 18 does not prevent juveniles from being placed in the Women's Prison. As to this issue, Ratliff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
Ratliff's complaint contends that her incarceration in the Women's Prison was
cruel and unusual punishment because she has been abused her whole life, was isolated
from her peers in the prison, and her primary treatment was group therapy sessions with
adult "sexually-abused women who have unresolved issues contributing toward criminal
Record at 15 (Complaint of Donna Ratliff, ¶ 17).
Considering the serious offenses which Ratliff committed--setting fire to her home and killing her mother and sister--her isolation from peers and the counseling sessions she attends contribute to acceptable goals of punishment. Thus, her incarceration in the Women's Prison was not devoid of any "measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment," Douglas, 481 N.E.2d at 112, nor was it "atrocious or obsolete punishment." Wise, 272 Ind. at 502, 400 N.E.2d at 117. Under these cases, Ratliff has not established an Article 1, Section 16 violation.See footnote 21 Thus, she has failed to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.
Ratliff also contends that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was violated because community standards are moving away from incarcerating juveniles under sixteen years of age in adult prisons. A 1995 United States Department of Justice study indicates that, while a majority of the states currently incarcerate juvenile offenders with adults (58%), only 38% of those states actually incarcerate juvenile offenders under the age of sixteen in adult prisons. Ratliff argues that, "once a punishment has been rejected by a sufficiently large number of state legislatures, it can no longer be said that it is consistent with society's standards of decency" and, therefore, violates the Eighth Amendment. Brief of Appellant at 16. In response, the State cites several articles and contends that the opposite is true, arguing that "the national trend has been toward harsher penalties for juveniles and toward incarcerating juveniles convicted of adult crimes away from other juveniles." Brief of Appellee In Support of Transfer at 11.
We remain unconvinced that the practice of incarcerating juvenile offenders under the age of sixteen in the adult prison necessarily violates the Eighth Amendment. Of the
majority states which incarcerate juveniles in prison, close to 40% also incarcerate in
adult prison those under the age of sixteen. This is hardly a "reject[ion] by a sufficiently
large number of state legislatures."See footnote
Id. We find that, "[t]his is a question of public
policy rather than a constitutional question and thus is an argument to be made to the
legislative body rather than to a judicial tribunal." Miller v. State, 623 N.E.2d 403, 411
(Ind. 1993) (rejecting an Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment challenge).
Ratliff also contends that the incarceration of "a young girl who has been abused her whole life . . . where her primary treatment is group therapy sessions with adults who have been convicted of abusing children," constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Brief of Appellant at 15. This was extensively addressed by the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California in Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995), mandamus denied sub nom., Wilson v. U.S. Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Cal., 103 F.2d 828 (9th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, U.S. , 117 S.Ct. 1823, 137 L.Ed.2d 1031 (1997), a case where prison inmates brought a civil rights actionSee footnote 23 alleging, among other things, that the state denied them adequate mental
The court began by noting that, under the Eighth Amendment, "It is firmly established that 'medical needs' include not only physical health needs, but mental health needs as well." Id. at 1255 (citations omitted). "As far back as 1977, the Fourth Circuit observed that there is 'no underlying distinction between the right to medical care for physical ills and its psychological or psychiatric counterpart.'" Id. (citing Bowring v. Godwin, 551 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1977)).See footnote 24
To establish an Eighth Amendment violation, Ratliff "must demonstrate that prison officials are 'deliberately indifferent' to [her] 'serious' medical needs . . . ."See footnote 25 Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 292, 50 L.Ed.2d 251, 261 (1976);
Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1111 (9th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1069, 107 S.Ct. 2462, 95 L.Ed.2d 871 (1987)).
[T]o prove deliberate indifference, plaintiffs must demonstrate not only that
the levels of medical and mental health care are constitutionally inadequate
from an objective standpoint . . . but also that defendants (1) knew the risk
to inmate health that this inadequacy posed, and (2) acted with disregard for
this risk. In short, plaintiffs must show that defendants "'consciously
disregard[ed]' a substantial risk of serious harm" to plaintiffs' health or
safety. Accidental or inadvertent failure to provide adequate care will not
Madrid, 889 F.Supp. at 1256 (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 839, 114 S.Ct.
1970, 1979, 128 L.Ed.2d 811, 824 (1994); Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 575 (10th Cir.
1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 104, 101 S.Ct. 1759, 68 L.Ed.2d 239).
Trial Rule 12(B)(6) requires that the complaint state any set of allegations upon which the trial court could have granted relief. Cram v. Howell, 680 N.E.2d 1096, 1096 (Ind. 1997). Ratliff's complaint alleges that she was "physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by various family members since the age of four" and that she had been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment on two separate occasions in the two years prior to her offense. Record at 13 (Complaint of Donna Ratliff, ¶ 7). According to her complaint, a court psychologist recommended that she be placed in an alternative setting because "important aspects of her rehabilitation might not occur if she were placed in an adult prison . . . ." Id. at 14 (¶ 10). Ratliff alleges that the Commissioner, despite knowledge of this information, "rejected concerns made by numerous concerned citizens and affirmed Donna's placement at the Indiana Women's Prison." Id. at 14 (¶ 10).
Her complaint asserts that she was placed in the Special Needs Unit of the Women's Prison, which is comprised of women who "'display severe psychological disorders' and are incapable of functioning in an open population setting" and that the
inmates in this Unit are "those who are seriously mentally ill or who have severe anger
problems." Id. at 14 (¶ 15). She complains that her group therapy sessionsSee footnote
"inappropriate for dealing with [her] psychological problems and have had an adverse
impact on [her] rehabilitation." Id. at 15 (¶ 18). She alleges that "prison officials have
admonished her to refrain from sharing her experiences as a victim of child abuse with
the group," that she "has been subjected to hostility and threats by adult inmates
participating in these therapy sessions . . . and fears for her safety," and that "She has
been sexually propositioned and harassed by older inmates." Record at 15 (Complaint of
Donna Ratliff, ¶¶ 18, 19).
As previously noted, although we express no opinion as to the merits of Ratliff's claims, our review of the trial court's dismissal requires that we view it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and with every inference drawn in her favor. Cram v. Howell, 680 N.E.2d 1096, 1096 (Ind. 1994). Because Ratliff's complaint essentially alleges that prison officials have been deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs, her complaint is sufficient to withstand a Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim as to this aspect of her Eighth Amendment claim.
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteen Amendment to the United States Constitution,
which provides that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law." U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
Citing Youngberg v. Romero, 457 U.S. 307, 102 S.Ct. 2452, 73 L.Ed.2d 28 (1982), she argues that "[c]hildren in custody of the state have the right to minimally adequate care and treatment under the Fourteenth Amendment." Brief of Appellant at 19. The plaintiff in Youngberg was involuntarily committed to a state institution for the mentally retarded and brought a Section 1983 claim contending, in essence, that his substantive due process rights were violated by: (1) the institution's lack of safe conditions of confinement; (2) its practice of restraining him for long periods of time; and (3) the lack of appropriate treatmentSee footnote 27 for his mental retardation. Id. at 311, 102 S.Ct. at 2455, 73 L.Ed.2d at 34. The Court noted that it had already held that involuntarily committed and incarcerated individuals have a Fourteenth Amendment liberty interest in adequate food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Thus, Youngberg addressed the new question of whether liberty interests for such individuals also exist in safety, freedom of movement, and treatment. Id. at 315, 102 S.Ct. at 2458, 73 L.Ed.2d at 37.
The Court quickly found that the first two claims involved general liberty interests
recognized by its prior decisions and that "involuntary commitment proceedings do not
extinguish" those interests. Id. However, rather than address whether a broad liberty
interest in treatment existed under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court addressed only
the more specific claim for treatment "to ensure safety and freedom from undue
restraint." Id. at 319, 102 S.Ct. at 2460, 73 L.Ed.2d at 39 ("[T]his case does not present
the difficult question whether a mentally retarded person, involuntarily committed to a
state institution, has some general constitutional right to training [treatment] per se . . .
."). Thus, the Court held that, in addition to previously recognized liberty interests in
adequate food, shelter, clothing, and medical care, an involuntarily committed person also
enjoys constitutionally protected due process interests in: (1) conditions of reasonable
care and safety; (2) reasonably nonrestrictive confinement conditions; and (3) such
treatment as may be required to secure these conditions of reasonable care and safety and
nonrestrictive confinement.See footnote
Id. at 324, 102 S.Ct. at 2462, 73 L.Ed.2d at 42-43.
On appeal, Ratliff contends that her due process rights have been violated because the treatment provided her in the adult prison "is without rehabilitative purpose and is having a detrimental impact on her psychologically and emotionally." Brief of Appellant at 19. However, despite her general claim of entitlement to minimally adequate care and
treatment while in custody, the Supreme Court has not extended such entitlement beyond the treatment required to ensure reasonable care and safety and reasonably nonrestrictive confinement. Youngberg, 457 U.S. at 324, 102 S.Ct. at 2462, 73 L.Ed.2d at 42-43. As a result, to survive a Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss, Ratliff's complaint must present a claim that she has been denied treatment which would lead to her reasonable care and safety or freedom from restrictive confinement.See footnote 29
As we have noted above, Ratliff contends that she was physically, sexually, and
emotionally abused. Record at 13 (Complaint of Donna Ratliff, ¶ 7). She contends that
the treatment she receives in the Women's Prison is inadequate because her groups
include women with whom she does not share "like experiences" and that she does not
have the benefit of being in therapy "with her peer group." Id. at 15 (¶ 18). These
complaints allege only inadequate treatment generally, not that she has been denied
treatment which would lead to her reasonable care and safety freedom from restrictive
confinement. Thus, dismissal as to this claim was appropriate.
Nonetheless, Ratliff did raise a general Due Process Clause violation in her complaint and also alleged that she "has been subjected to hostility and threats by adult inmates . . . and fears for her safety" and that "she has been sexually propositioned and harassed by older inmates." Id. at 15 (¶ 19). Although this allegation does not allege that she has been denied treatment which would lead to protection from these specific occurrences, Youngberg also recognizes a "constitutionally protected interest in conditions of reasonable care and safety . . . ." Youngberg, 457 U.S. at 324, 102 S.Ct. at 2462, 73 L.Ed.2d at 42-43, and her complaint need only state any set of allegations upon which the trial court could have granted relief. Cram v. Howell, 680 N.E.2d 1096, 1096 (Ind. 1997). While we express no opinion as to the merits of the claim, her allegation that she has been subjected to hostility and threats by adult inmates and fears for her safety is
sufficient to withstand a Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
We find no lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The trial court's dismissal cannot be affirmed upon such a claim.
that right, every person shall be responsible."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 10 ("In all prosecutions for libel, the truth of the matters alleged to be libellous, may be given in justification."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 12 (" All courts shall be open; and every person, for injury done to him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 13 ("In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a public trial . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 1, § 14 ("No person, in any criminal prosecution, shall be compelled to testify against himself."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 16 (" All penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 19 ("In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 20 ("In all civil cases, the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate."); Ind. Const. art. 1 § 23 ("The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen . . . privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 1 (" All elections shall be free and equal."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 2 (" Every citizen of the United States, of the age of eighteen (18) years or more . . . shall be entitled to vote in that precinct."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 6 (" Every person shall be disqualified from holding office, during the term for which he may have been elected, who shall have given or offered a bribe, threat, or reward, to procure his election."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 11 ("In all cases in which it is provided that an office shall not be filled by the same person more than a certain number of years continuously, an appointment pro tempore shall not be reckoned a part of that term."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 12 ("In all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, electors shall be free from arrest, in going to elections, during their attendance there, and in returning from the same."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 13 (" All elections by the People shall be by ballot; and all elections by the General Assembly, or by either branch thereof, shall be viva voce."); Ind. Const. art. 2 § 14 (" All general elections shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 1 ("The style of every law shall be: 'Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana;' and no law shall be enacted, except by bill."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 8 ("Senators and Representatives, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest, during the session of the General Assembly, and in going to and returning from the same . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 18 (" Every bill shall be read, by title, on three several days, in each House . . . and the vote on the passage of every bill or joint resolution shall be taken by yeas and nays."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 20 (" Every act and joint resolution shall be plainly worded, avoiding, as far as practicable, the use of technical terms."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 23 ("In all the cases enumerated in the preceding section, and in all other cases where a general law can be made applicable, all laws shall be general, and of uniform operation throughout the State."); Ind. Const. art. 4 § 27 (" Every statute shall be a public law, unless otherwise declared in the statute itself."); Ind. Const. art. Ind. Const. art. 5 § 14 (" Every bill which shall have passed the General Assembly shall be presented to the Governor."); Ind. Const. art. 5 § 21 ("The Lieutenant Governor shall . . . have a right . . .to vote on all subjects . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 6 § 6 (" All county, township, and town officers, shall reside within their respective counties, townships, and towns . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 6, § 7 (" All State officers shall, for crime, incapacity, or negligence, be liable to be removed from office . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 6 § 8 (" All State, county, township, and town officers, may be impeached . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 4, § 7 ("The Supreme Court shall have, in all appeals of criminal cases, the power to review all questions of law and to review and revise the sentence imposed."); Ind. Const. art. 7 § 11 (" Every such justice and judge shall retire at the age specified by statute . . . ."); Ind. Const. art. 7 § 18 (" All criminal prosecutions shall be carried on in the name, and by the authority of the state; and the style of all process shall be: 'The State of Indiana.'"); Ind. Const. art. 15 § 4 (" Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall . . . take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States . . . .").
279, 279 (1997) (footnotes omitted). In 1889, the General Assembly began revising its treatment of juveniles, culminating in 1903 with the creation of our juvenile court by virtue of Indiana Juvenile Court Act. See 1903 Ind. Acts ch. 237, § 4. This Act specifically provided that, "If the child was found guilty of the offense charged and appeared to the court to be 'wilfully wayward and unmanageable,' send the child to [the Houses of Refuge] or to any state penal or reformatory institution." Id. at 298 (emphasis added).
Reed argued that, due to his age (18) and slight build, sentencing in a maximum security facility
would be cruel and unusual punishment in violation of Article 1, Section 16. This Court found
the issue waived for failure to raise the question at trial. Id. at 1254.
Finally, Ratliff argues that, when "construed in combination with the prohibition of unnecessary rigor contained in Article I, § 15, the requirement in Article I, § 18 that the state's penal laws shall be based on principles of rehabilitation and not vindictive justice, coupled with the explicit requirement for juvenile institutions contained in Article IX, § 2," Article 1, Section 16 "should provide greater protections in her case." Brief of Appellant at 18. Because we have rejected her claims regarding each of the above provisions, this argument fails.
plaintiff's federal claim." Id. at 13 (¶ 5). She alleged that his actions "were taken under color of state law," id. at 16 (¶ 22) and that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was violated. Id. at 12, 14 (¶¶ 1, 14). As in Madrid, this is sufficient to raise this claim. See Matter of Tina T., 579 N.E.2d 48, 62 (Ind. 1991) ("A claim for relief under § 1983 need allege only that some person acting under color of state law has deprived the claimant of a federal right.").
Amendment claim, not a Fourteenth Amendment claim.
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