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New Jersey Jail Brutality Settlement

Seventeen former detainees of the Sussex County (NJ) Jail settled a lawsuit alleging a pattern and practice of guard brutality, inadequate medical and psychiatric care, and inadequate legal access. As part of the settlement, the county agreed to pay $372,000; install video surveillance cameras throughout the jail, including in the elevator where beatings often occurred; and contract with the Prisoners Self Help Legal Clinic to supplement the provision of legal assistance. Prior to the settlement, Undersheriff Untig, who was in charge of the facility, was replaced.

Individual lawsuits had been filed between 1994 and 1996 and were later consolidated. Prisoners alleged that they were routinely handcuffed, dragged across the floor, kicked and beaten by guards who shouted racial epithets at them. Jail administrators were sued because of their failure to discipline numerous jail guards who had been involved in repeated assaults on detainees between 1991 and 1995. The situation at the jail had gotten so bad that the Sussex county prosecutor had written to the undersheriff that "many of the cases [of alleged abuse] are strikingly similar in their allegations and in many instances the same guards are involved over and over again."

The case was titled: Hane v. Ziolkoski, (D.N.J.) Civ. Dkt No. 95-6141 (DRD).

The Bridge, #11, March 1997 (PSHLC; 2 Washington Place; Newark, NJ 07102).

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Related legal case

Have v. Ziolkoski