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Indybay Feature
Sun May 4 2014 (Updated 05/09/14)
Experts Condemn Monterey County Jail as Violent, Unconstitutional, Lacking ADA Protections
Class Action Lawsuit Against Monterey Jail Exposes Systematic Problems of Violence
A series of reports issued by national experts on jail conditions expose in the most graphic detail to date the Monterey County Jail as a place riddled with violence where prisoners are at serious risk of grave injury, where jail officials fail to provide prisoners with adequate medical and mental health care and where prisoners with disabilities are denied access to jail services, programs and activities.

The reports were made public on April 29 as part of a motion for class certification in a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union, the law firm Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP and Monterey County Public Defender James Egar charging that conditions at the jail are overcrowded, dangerous, discriminatory and unconstitutional. Four of the reports being made public today were authored by experts chosen jointly by county officials and lawyers representing the plaintiffs to investigate various aspects of the jail’s conditions. According to incident reports from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, there were more than 150 separate incidents of violence between prisoners from January 2011 through early-September 2012, and in more than 100 of these incidents at least one prisoner required medical treatment. Violent incidents have been reported in 26 of the jail’s 29 housing units.

“These reports make clear that there are serious structural and systematic problems with the jail and that conditions inside the facility do not meet constitutional and ADA standards,” said Michael Bien of Rosen, Bien Galvan & Grunfeld. “Rather than continue to waste taxpayer money litigating these issues, county officials should address them with serious and detailed remedial plans.”

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