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$53,000 Settlement in AL Conditions Suit

On April 8, 2000, the Alabama Department of Corrections settled a conditions lawsuit by agreeing to pay eight prisoners $53,000 in damages and establish basic standards of care at the Loxley Community Work Center in Mobile, Alabama.

In August, 1997, eight prisoners were placed in a 7 x 11 foot holding cell at the Center, with no air conditioning, ventilation, a leaky toilet, dirty mattresses and bugs. One of the prisoners, Richard Bohannon, was placed in the 100 degree cell and suffered a rash, muscle spasms and had to be hospitalized for dehydration. The prisoners filed a class action suit claiming these barbaric conditions violated their Eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

Henry Brewster, an Alabama attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said the Loxley Work Center "sounded like the black hole of Calcutta. It had a real air of desperation."

Under the terms of the settlement, the Alabama DOC agreed to pay the eight prisoner plaintiffs $53,000 in damages and to establish minimum standards for the holding cell. The settlement requires the Alabama DOC to hold no more than two prisoners at a time in the holding cell; that the cell be equipped with hot and cold running water, a functioning toilet, adequate lighting and ventilation and comport with fire safety regulations. Prisoners must also be supplied with basic personal hygiene supplies such as toilet paper and soap.

Source: Birmingham News

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