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ACLU: Illinois juvenile center unfairly seeks charges

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CHICAGO (AP) _ The ACLU accuses a juvenile detention facility in southern Illinois of improperly and unnecessarily seeking prosecutions of several dozen detainees.

The civil liberties group made the allegation about the Illinois Youth Center in Harrisburg in a filing in an ongoing federal lawsuit in Chicago. It blames center staff disgruntled about court-approved limits on how long juveniles can spend in solitary confinement.

The ACLU says that among the infractions that have led to criminal charges were detainees spitting at youth-center staff. ACLU lawyer Lindsay Miller calls such prosecutions “vindictive.”

Thursday’s filing asks the court to order the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice to find ways to ensure the prosecutions stop.

Messages left for the center and Saline County prosecutors weren’t returned. The juvenile justice department didn’t have an immediate comment.

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