The Local I-Team was the first to tell you about computer problems at the Shelby County Jail.
Now the criminal justice advocacy group “Just City” has filed a $10 million class action lawsuit against the Shelby County Sheriff.
Local 24’s Mike Matthews says the “Just City” group thinks hundreds of inmates are lost in the jail right now.
It is a fact of life that for the last few weeks once you’ve been brought in to the Shelby County Jail, there’s a good chance you’ll get lost.
It’s not that you won’t find your way around or that anyone disappeared. But the paperwork, critically important in a jail to show who’s in, what they’re changed with, what their bond is, it’s missing. Meaning people don’t get out, even when they should. Meaning as far as the jail folks are concerned, they are missing, a lot of them, according to the people who filed a lawsuit against the sheriff.
“The numbers in the hundreds, almost certainly. I mean, the jail population has climbed. The last I heard its 27, 28 hundred.”
That’s Josh Spickler of Just City. He and attorney Claiborne Ferguson filed the $10 million class action lawsuit naming one inmate. Spickler says there will be others who join in.
“The conditions have been described as pretty dire. We are hearing stories of folks who spent the night in the intake section of the jail. Not one, not two, but three nights. In an area designed for about sixty people, there have been reports of as many as 120 people,” said Spickler.
Inmates have rights. The courts have ruled about something called cruel and unusual punishment. Josh Spickler simply says what is happening here is unacceptable. And he’s also mad about what sheriff’s office spokesman, Earle Farrell, said about the problem.
“Well, this is not Club Med. There is no checkout time,” said Farrell.
“Well, I think again that’s an example of the attitude that the sheriff’s department has taken to this problem,” said Spickler.
Farrell says not true.
“As long as we’ve got a problem, they’re going to be working on it.”
Farrell says they don’t talk about lawsuits and they won’t be talking about this one. But they are continuing to work trying to fix the problem and they will continue to work through the Thanksgiving holiday.