Charging that Sacramento County’s two jails confine inmates in “dangerous, inhumane and degrading conditions,” inmate advocates filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against the county seeking wholesale changes in how the jail system is run.
The suit, which seeks class action status for the roughly 3,700 inmates held in the jails each day, follows years of negotiations by the groups and the county to agree to a settlement that would avoid legal action.
“After two and a half years of negotiations, the settlement process broke down,” the suit says, and the groups are seeking relief from the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
“Defendant regularly subjects people in its custody — the majority of whom have not been convicted of any crime — to harsh, prolonged, and undue isolation,” the lawsuit alleges. “Every day, defendant locks up hundreds of people in solitary confinement in dark, cramped, filthy cells for 23½ hours or more per day.