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Branstad says Girls State Training School under new management, solitary confinement policies changed

(Radio Iowa) – Governor Terry Branstad says “appropriate, correction action” has been taken to abandon the practice of holding teenage girls at the state-run home for juveniles in what amounted to solitary confinement for months at a time.

“The person in charge of the juvenile home has been replaced,” Branstad says. “The practice has been changed.”

Des Moines Register report indicates one juvenile “in her mid-teens” had been held a basement room for nearly a year. Michael Bousselot, an aide to Governor Branstad, says the practice was “inappropriate.”

“They’ve changed the leadership at that facility,” Bousselot says. “They’ve also changed the practices and standards of care at that facility. They are moving forward with a solution that is implementing a high level of care for the troubled youth that are served at that home.”

Girls between the ages of 12 and 18 who are in the foster care system and the juvenile justice system can be placed at the State Training School for Girls in Toledo for intense supervision. Critics who talked with The Register say staff at the home also have withheld education from the girls as punishment for bad behavior, a violation of federal law.