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ACLU files federal suit against corrections center

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Marion County Community Corrections Center in Indianapolis, alleging the facility's conditions violate the Constitution and threaten health and safety of inmates.

Filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court ;s Southern District in Indianapolis, the suit alleges that conditions at 147 E. Maryland St. remain deplorable despite improvements made in past months and more planned on the horizon. Specifically, the suit cites overcrowding and an Indiana Department of Correction report released in January that detailed leaking sewage, mold in the ventilation system, and security concerns. Inmate population has also been decreased from 340 to about 200.

Some of those issues have been addressed, but ACLU-IN legal director Ken Falk said the improvements to the 100-year-old facility are not enough and have happened too slowly.

The suit seeks class-action certification but is on behalf of inmate Anthony Buford-Lewis III, who's been incarcerated there since Feb. 2 for a probation violation on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. The suit claims he has been exposed to these "dangerous conditions" but also notes he is expected to be released next week.

This is the latest in a string of suits filed by the ACLU-IN regarding jail conditions. One filed in January on behalf of Grant County inmates claims the county jail is understaffed and overcrowding has contributed to fights and decreased safety. That suit is pending in the Fort Wayne division of the U.S. District Court's Northern District of Indiana.

According to the ACLU-IN Web site, at least six similar overcrowding or jail condition suits are ongoing or have been recently settled from counties that include Gibson, Elkhart, Knox, Brown, and Vanderburgh counties. The organization reports that it continues monitoring those situations to ensure compliance.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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