Friday, May 15, 2020

ACLU Sues to Free Convicts

The Mississippi Center for Justice and ACLU issued the following statement.

Today the Mississippi Center for Justice, along with the Hogan Lovells law firm, attorney Mark Whitburn of Austin, Texas, and the ACLU of Mississippi, filed a class action lawsuit against Mississippi’s two largest prisons for taking inadequate steps to prevent infection and mitigate an outbreak of COVID-19.  View the complaint here. According to the lawsuit, the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) have not implemented minimum prevention practices required to reduce transmission and identify cases of COVID-19 infection. Among other measures, the suit seeks implementation of guidance provided to correctional facilities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

MCJ’s lawsuit seeks to proceed as a class action on behalf of the approximately 6,000 individuals housed at CMCF and SMCI. It also seeks to certify a subclass of persons who have disabilities that put them at increased risk of contracting, becoming severely ill from, and dying from COVID-19. The case is brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi’s prisons were already in a state of crisis; men and women die in Mississippi prisons at a rate that far exceeds the national average,” said MCJ President and CEO Vangela M. Wade. “Safely reducing the number of incarcerated people is the best way to prevent an unnecessary deadly outbreak, but in the meantime, minimal protective practices must be immediately implemented.”

“MDOC prisons like CMCF and SMCI operate at nearly double their staffed capacity, so a single guard may be responsible for supervising hundreds of individuals across one or two buildings,” said Paloma Wu, Deputy Director of Impact Litigation at MCJ. “This means there is often nobody to tell if you feel sick, and right now, there are people inside who have run out of soap and can’t get cleaning supplies—the unnecessary risk of harm to our community members in custody is unacceptable.”

The lawsuit alleges that Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has not implemented basic pandemic response protocols such as frequent cleaning and disinfection of living units, as well as provision of sufficient hand soap and cleaning supplies. The lawsuit also cites failures to adequately isolate and test residents, as well as failures to communicate key infection prevention information.

“People in prison are being forced to use their personal unlaundered towels to wipe down common areas for lack of rudimentary cleaning supplies to keep communities inside safe from this deadly pandemic,” said Joshua Tom, Interim Executive Director and Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “The data is clear that hotspots of infection in prisons leads to increased infection in surrounding communities: it is in everyone’s best interest to follow the law regarding the treatment of people in prison during this pandemic.”  

The plaintiffs are represented by Paloma Wu and Rob McDuff of MCJ, Joshua Tom of the ACLU of Mississippi, Mark Whitburn of Austin, Texas, and Jonathan Abram, John Hamilton, Madeleine Bech, and Sydney Rupe of the Hogan Lovells law firm.  The lawsuit was filed against the Interim Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the Superintendents of CMCF and SMCI. 

The Mississippi Center for Justice is a public service law firm that fights discrimination, economic, and social injustice through legal representation, policy advocacy, and community education.


Do the Crimes, Do the Time said...

Let 'em loose. But first give them the home addresses of all of the involved ACLU attorneys, along with all of the other sob-sisters and bleeding-hearts, as a place to live.

Anonymous said...

Just a ploy to get the convicts turned loose.

Anonymous said...

The state needs to get a handle on its prisons.

Anonymous said...

All these coronavirus lawsuits will be the next plague to hit this nation.
Congress needs to pass laws protecting states, business, & individuals for garish lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Free the land-

Anonymous said...

The state needs to get a handle on the criminals.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the reaction of an ACLU attorney would be who was gang raped after diligently working to get these thugs released. As a victim of violent crime, I think this is a relevant question.

Anonymous said...

Release? How about leave them there. Scum.

They are safer in prison than running the streets and getting mowed down by their homeboys.

Anonymous said...

Hell, we could all sue the Federal Government and the State of Mississippi for the same thing. Nobody is safe, why should prisoners be any safer?

Anonymous said...

10:16 am great POST.
10:23 am Well put.
10:57 am Drop the mic & leave the stage.
11:11 am Sage advice.
I love Jackson Jambalaya & I'm not KF!
I'm a poor soul sheltering in place.

Anonymous said...

How bout the prisons implement some safety protocols and work out a settlement. Instead of hiring Baker Donelson or whoever and spending millions in defense just to be a prick. Heck I bet even some well meaning people already on staff at MDOC and the AG’s office could work that out at minimal expense to taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12:08. Fix the problems instead of raising the stakes on doing nothing. FWIW, I don't think simply releasing inmates fixes anything, but we have to correct the problems in the prison system if we are going to enforce prison sentences.

Along these same lines, it is my belief that society needs the worst criminals to have highly-competent lawyers at trial to ensure they don't have their convictions overturned on appeal. Also, the more a judge favors the prosecution, the greater the chance of committing reversible error during the trial.

Anonymous said...

Don’t release them in Jackson. It wouldn’t be safe for them in the bold new city!

Anonymous said...

at 10:51

Probably "YIKES!"

Somebody Get Tate In Gear! said...

Will Tater finally get his ass off the internet and television and take care of some Mississippi problems? The state was crumbling when he was booking tickets to Spain. Welfare, Highway Patrol, Department of unCorrections, Employment Security, Institutes of Higher Learning (how farcicle), State Department of Education, Jackson Public Schools, Department of Transportation.

For God's sakes...quit pretending your job (Tater) is Covid updates.

Anonymous said...

Well 1:57, Tate did inherit more than a few issues . . . but I'm pleasantly surprised how he's handled all of this shit.

I voted for him, but was never a big fan.

I suspect Hood would have followed Nancy Pelosi's goofy plans.

Gawd, where would we be if Hood had been electcted ?

Anonymous said...

Woops, I forgot to praise 8:23 am

8:23 am Fantastic post. You won the internet today.
10:16 am great POST.
10:23 am Well put.
10:57 am Drop the mic & leave the stage.
11:11 am Sage advice.

Anonymous said...

The “fix” to house prisoners 12 feet apart in each direction would cost hundreds of millions of dollars

Anonymous said...

And some liberal/progressives scream that any citizen not wearing a "face covering" should be be thrown in jail.

But at the same time, they scream violent offenders should be released to "stop the spread" of this latest Super Chinese Flu.

I ask any liberal/progressive to please explain this logic.


Anonymous said...

4:22 - I never implied he didn't 'inherit' these situations. But,now that you mention it, he HAS served in state government leadership positions for sixteen+ years, at least eight of those in a position to contribute to solutions or ignore these problems. It's simply time for him to get off TV and take care of state problems. Otherwise the ACLU and Justice Department are going to build regional headquarters with helicopter pads on I-220 (with reflecting ponds).

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Note: Security provided by INS.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS