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Lawsuit claims inhumane conditions at women's prison

Some Michigan prisons are accelerating the return of staff after a positive coronavirus test.
Office of Legislative Corrections Ombudsman
Some Michigan prisons are accelerating the return of staff after a positive coronavirus test.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging medical negligence and unhygienic conditions at Michigan's only women's prison. 

The lawsuit claims that prison officials failed to diagnose and treat a scabies outbreak for two years. It also says that the facility is not cleaned properly, resulting in a black mold infestation in the shower area.

Jonathan Marko is the attorney for the plaintiffs.

"They had this rash going on for years and they never correctly diagnosed it or treated these women or gave them the attention they needed, despite multiple pleas for help," Marko says.

He says that the conditions at the prison are unconstitutional because they amount to cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit also names Corizon Health as a defendant. They are a contract healthcare provider for the prison.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections says he can't comment on pending litigation. Corizon Health did not respond to a request for comment.

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.
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