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ACLU sues Isabella County for overcrowding in jail


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class action lawsuit against Isabella County.

It says the county jail violates the constitutional rights of inmates with cells that are too crowded, and too few opportunities to exercise.

The federal lawsuit also says the jail discriminates against female inmates because they can’t participate in work assignments that could reduce their sentences.   

ACLU attorney Sarah Mehta filed the lawsuit.

“There’s very few opportunities for any inmate to get out of their cell, but one of the few opportunities that does exist is the trustee program, where inmates are able to work time off their sentence by providing maintenance and other services around the facility, doing prison jobs, but women have been completely excluded from participating in this program,” she said.

The ACLU says a former inmate called attention to conditions in the jail. The lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The Isabella County sheriff could not be reached for comment.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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