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Lawsuit Filed Against County Jail On Behalf Of Disabled Inmates

A lawsuit that claims that the Shasta County Jail is inadequate to the needs of disabled inmates has been given class action status. A federal judge granted the status last week for the complaint, which was initially filed in federal court last May. The suit says the jail doesn’t comply with the American’s With Disabilities Act, limiting disabled prisoners’ ability to sleep and use restrooms and showers, among other things. The complaint also says sheriff’s office staff retaliated against disabled inmates who complained about such conditions by denying cancer medication, serving tainted food, performing body cavity searches, sending them to solitary confinement or taking away canes and walkers. The suit was filed by the nonprofit Legal Services for Prisoners with Children on behalf of four people who spent time in the jail. When the suit was filed the sheriff’s office released a statement saying the county has engaged in discussions about access with the disability rights groups named in the lawsuit, and that those discussion began prior to the filing. They say the AB-109 prisoner re-alignment has placed a lot of pressure on the department in its efforts to become more ADA compliant. It’s not known how much progress has been made toward that compliance since May. The department completely denied the allegations of retaliatory actions against inmates who complained.