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State hit with lawsuit over "inhumane" conditions at Huron Valley women's prison

Women's prison
Michigan Department of Corrections

The Michigan Department of Corrections has been hit with a class-action lawsuit on behalf of inmates who say they've been overwhelmed by chronic mold and other unsanitary conditions at the state's only prison for women.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Detroit federal court, says the Huron Valley prison in Washtenaw County is "operating under a state of degradation, filth and inhumanity."

Lawyers say women have suffered health problems because of mold and their complaints have gone unheeded.

The lawsuit names three current inmates of the Huron Valley Correctional Facility as plaintiffs but says it is on behalf of “former, current, and future” inmates of the prison.

Paula Bailey says exposure to mold has given her a rash, scars and respiratory problems. Another prisoner, Krystal Clark, says she suffers from chronic coughing and wears a mask when visiting with people.

The lawsuit claims the state’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility for Women has subjected inmates to unhygienic conditions including leaky roofs, improper ventilation, and toxic mold.

Plaintiff attorney Jonathan Marko says there have been complaints about the prison for decades.

“This is just the latest in a long line of unconstitutional practices and barbaric conditions at the prison,” he said. “This is not your garden variety mold in your basement corner. This is toxic, poisonous mold.”

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections says they disagree with the claims of the lawsuit but do not comment on pending litigation.

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