Federal Judge Approves ACLU Settlement Forcing Sweeping Improvements In Conditions At Baltimore City Jail

April 6, 2010

Detainee Medical And Mental Health Care Will Greatly Improve After History Of Serious Mistreatment

A federal judge today gave final approval to a settlement agreement that paves the way for sweeping improvements to conditions at the Baltimore City Jail. The approval comes after the American Civil Liberties Union and the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center came to an agreement last year with Maryland state officials that will lead to dramatic improvements in the quality of medical and mental health care provided to detainees at the facility and effectively settles major portions of a longstanding class action lawsuit.

“Jail officials have a constitutional obligation to provide basic levels of medical and mental health care,” said David Fathi, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “This agreement will help ensure that officials at the Baltimore City Jail follow the law.”

A tentative settlement was reached in August, but because the case is a class action brought on behalf of all detainees at the jail, federal law required that the detainees be given notice of the proposed settlement and an opportunity to comment on it before it could be given judicial approval. Having considered those comments, U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz today said the settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate” and gave it his approval.

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