ALCU files lawsuit against Isabella County Sheriff's Department

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday, claiming conditions at the Isabella County Correctional Facility violate the Eighth Amendment.

The lawsuit includes the complaint for declaratory, injunctive relief and other relief all filed against defendants Isabella County, Sheriff Leo Miodueszewski and Jail Administrator Lt. Thomas Recker.

The plaintiffs are Michael Dunmire, Amanda Hester, Marcus Jackson, Ashley Bush and Sara Dunmire, all current and prior Isabella County Correctional Facility inmates.

They say their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment have been violated. Bush and Dunmire are seeking damages for the violation of this right.

The plaintiffs claim jail inmates are not permitted to any out-of-cell exercise, have limited opportunities to leave cells and must eat, sleep and shower in cells roughly 20 feet by 25 feet that they share with other inmates.

Additionally, the three women on the case argue female inmates are denied opportunities available to male inmates, including serving as trustees, a position that entitles them to time off their sentence.

They allege Lt. Rucker rejected requests by women to be trustees on several occasions, claiming ICCF to be a “male-oriented jail."

They claim women are no longer allowed to participate in the community service program, which allows inmates to be released from the jail during the day to complete the community service component of their sentence.

The plaintiffs said the jail vindicates the rights of female inmates under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states the facility’s custom, policy or practice violates the right to be free from gender discrimination.

The jail has received 100-percent compliance ratings with the Michigan Department of Corrections for the past six years.

Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Scully declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski could not be reached for comment Thursday.


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