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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. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

  2. I have met some highly placed bureaucrats who vehemently disagree, Mr. Smith. This is not your father's time in America. Some ideas are just too politically incorrect too allow spoken, says those who watch over us for the good of their concept of order.

  3. Lets talk about this without forgetting that Lawyers, too, have FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

  4. Baer filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit on April 30 2015. When will this be decided? How many more appeals does this guy have? Unbelievable this is dragging on like this.

  5. They ruled there is no absolute right to keep a license, whether it be for a lifetime or a short period of time. So with that being said, this state taught me at the age of 15 how to obtain that license. I am actually doing something that I was taught to do, I'm not breaking the law breaking the rules and according to the Interstate Compact the National Interstate Compact...driving while suspended is a minor offense. So, do with that what you will..Indiana sucks when it comes to the driving laws, they really and truly need to reevaluate their priorities and honestly put the good of the community first... I mean, what's more important the pedophile drug dealer or wasting time and money to keep us off the streets?

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