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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against King County Jail

I've been wondering when this would happen. It's good to see that the King County Jail (located in downtown Seattle) will finally be taken to task over it's failure to treat detainees in need of medical care and for not doing enough to prevent the spread of MRSA infections in that hellhole. Glad to see someone took up the call to represent all these people since the ACLU of Washington State sure wasn't interested in defending their rights!

The legal discussions between the jail and the US DOJ over their charges that the King County Jail violated the rights of detainees there are still ongoing, by the way... for seven months now. (how King County could stall the DOJ for seven months over this is beyond me!)

From the report in the Seattle PI:

Filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the lawsuit contends jail officials failed to stop the spread of a highly infectious strain of staph infection called MRSA. During a five-month period beginning in September, at least 65 inmates were diagnosed with MRSA; one inmate afflicted with MRSA and a flesh-eating bacteria died while in custody.

The plaintiff, 40-year-old Matthew Wisecarver, suffered serious injuries when surgeons were forced to dig into his hand to remove an MRSA infection he contracted in jail, said his attorney, Ed Budge of Seattle. Wisecarver didn't receive treatment for the infection until he was released from jail, where he was being held pending trial on domestic violence charges.

The county's inability to stop the spread of the disease amounted to a violation of inmates' rights to equal protection under the law and freedom from cruel or unusual punishment, Budge said.

"As soon as they close that door behind you, you're pretty much at the mercy of those jailers," Budge said. "If they don't do what the Constitution mandates, which is get you immediate medical attention, there's not a darn thing you can do about it."

Last year, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division released a report highly critical of the county Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, which operates the Seattle jail. Justice investigators found that the jail didn't have proper procedures in place to deal with a host of problems, from handling suicidal inmates to investigating complaints against corrections officers.

Trust me, I know they didn't care if you were innocent or guilty, if you were just accused or had been convicted. Once they put you in that dungeon you lost all your rights and you were treated like an animal... hell, worse than that as most people would take their pet to the vet if they suffered like most people do in that inhuman place.

Even though their firm wasn't interested in helping me and I can't be a part of that class action suit, I still wish them all the best of luck and I hope all those victims find justice at long last... and I hope it sparks some interest in respecting people's constitutional and human rights at that jail.


Anonymous said...

My brother is going through this in washington but a different county. I don't know what to do. I will not release where he is located to protect him. I don't want him to end up dying. What should I do.

Packratt said...

Send me an email and I'll see what I can do to help. We don't publish information that anyone sends us via email without their express permission so your brother's identity won't be revealed.

Without more information, all I can recommend is that you file a complaint or have you brother file a complaint against the jail and attempt to contact a civil rights attorney to see if they might be able to help.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your response. Please let me know what information(s)I will need to send to your email. If at all possible I would like kept his idenity anonymous since I have talk to the county jail about issues and concerns and it just seems he just get repercussion for me trying to help him.

Packratt said...

No problem.

You don't have to reveal his name to me or anyone anywhere, but it is easier for me to give you advice via email and it would probably be easier for you to let me know what you've tried already as well.

Just write me, be a little more specific about what's happening to your brother and what jail this is happening in so I can try to find what resources might be available in that location.

As it stands now, I don't really know what's happening or if whatever that's happening to your brother is ongoing or getting worse or may even be life threatening at the moment, so I can't really give you any meaningful advice.

in any case, I wish the both of you all the best, even if you are too afraid to write... I really do understand how that feels.

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