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Updated: 4:30 p.m.

Legal and advocacy groups say time is running short in the effort to prevent a surge of COVID-19 infections in the Oakland County Jail. 

The groups are involved in a lawsuit against Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Curtis Childs, Corrective Services Commander, and the county over conditions in the jail.

Groups representing the five inmate plaintifss in the case include Advancement Project National Office, Civil Rights Corps, LaRene & Kriger P.L.C., Law Firm of Pitt, McGhee, Palmer and Rivers, Michigan Liberation, and the ACLU.

Washtenaw County

 

It's not clear how many county jails are following the Michigan Supreme Court's urging to reduce the number of inmates, but the Washtenaw County Jail has been ahead of the curve, according to Sheriff Jerry Clayton.

Early in March, the jail implemented a system to control the spread of the coronavirus among the incarcerated population, with temperature checks and health screenings for incoming offenders, and access to testing for anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19.

ICE

Advocates for immigrants lined up in their cars on Friday outside the Monroe County Jail to protest detentions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the pandemic.

There are 31 ICE detainees at the jail, according to ICE.

Rocky Coronado is with Rapid Response Detroit and says immigrants are housed at a dorm-style open room at the jail. 

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A federal district judge has ordered Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard to take steps to protect inmates housed at the jail from the coronavirus.

American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Phil Mayor says the lawsuit was filed because the jail has been exposing inmates to unsafe, inhumane, and degrading conditions.

rollingroscoe / Morguefile

Wayne County is in the middle of an effort to reduce its jail population, and it’s just received some early data to help guide that effort.

The county is teaming up with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice to figure out who goes to jail, and who might not need to be there.

Glenn Fleishmann / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan jails are introducing technology to inmates, and jail officials say it creates a safer environment and improves productivity.

Last month, Sanilac County began a pilot program in cooperation with Securus Technologies – the company that provides the jail's video visitation and phone – to provide inmates with tablet computers for their use.

With the devices, inmates are able to access resources such as a library of approximately 10,000 readable items, some radio stations or music and job search tools.

Family photo

A horrific video showing a naked man slowly dying in a Macomb County jail cell is sparking local and national outrage.

The death of David Stojcevski brings into sharp focus the overlap between some issues that have drawn intense scrutiny recently: deaths of people in police custody, people being jailed for minor offenses because they can’t afford to pay fines, and the opioid addiction crisis.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A handful of former inmates at the Kent County jail are suing the sheriff and food service provider Aramark.

The case stems from a food-borne illness. One afternoon, in April 2012, at least a couple hundred inmates at the Kent County Jail got really sick. The culprit? Bad chicken tacos.

Court documents say they suffered pain, cramps, diarrhea and “long-term adverse health consequences” that’s weren’t detailed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Senate Judiciary committee will consider a bill tomorrow that would make it easier for criminals to have part of their records expunged.

House Bill 4186 would allow people convicted of a single felony or a couple of misdemeanors to apply to have them removed from their record.

prison bars
Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Isabella County jail inmates are spending more time outside their cells these days.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Isabella County after receiving complaints that inmates were not allowed exercise time outside their cells.

Daniel Manville is the director the Michigan State University law school's Civil Rights Clinic. He says jail officials were willing to reach an out-of-court settlement. Manville says many county jails in Michigan are in a similar position because of inmate overcrowding and budget cuts.

“It’s my understanding that there's a few other jails that are under litigation,” says Manville. “We’ve even started talking to a couple jails about making changes, and they are willing to sit down even before we file a lawsuit and we may even be able to resolve it without a lawsuit.”

As part of the Isabella County jail settlement, inmates will have access to an exercise room for an hour a day five days a week.