ACLU Sues Isabella County Over Jail Conditions

Oct 30, 2012

The American Civil Liberties Union says conditions at the Isabella County jail are so inhumane they violate the U.S. Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

The ACLU filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday in federal court.

Credit Kevin Rosseel / morgueFile

The lawsuit says jail cells are too crowded and inmates are given too few opportunities for exercise.

Sarah Mehta is the ACLU attorney who filed the lawsuit. She says the conditions not only violate inmates’ human rights, but are a bad way to manage a jail. 

“When you have inmates that are trapped in a crowded cell with no opportunities to exercise, to get that release, you can have a volatile situation – so it’s not just about constitutional rights. It’s also about health and public safety,” he says.

Mehta says a former inmate alerted the ACLU to conditions at the jail. The lawsuit also says the jail discriminates against female inmates by denying them access to work programs that could help reduce their sentences.

The Isabella County sheriff could not be reached for comment.