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ACLU Adds Wabash and Allen Counties To Lawsuits Alleging Overcrowded Jails

Allen County Sheriff's Department

  The ACLU of Indiana sued the Allen and Wabash county sheriffs in recent weeks, accusing them of managing jails that are dangerously overcrowded.

In total, the organization has sued about a dozen Indiana counties alleging jail overcrowding, and six of those suits are still moving forward.

Filed in late January on behalf of inmate Vincent Morris, the lawsuit against Allen County accuses the sheriff of frequently operating the jail at more than 100 percent of its capacity of 741 beds. A recent audit of the facility showed 863 inmates were housed at the jail. 

When over capacity, inmates are forced to sleep on the floor on mats, and the crowded conditions often cause fights and mental health issues, according to court documents. 

ACLU attorneys argue that overcrowding inherently leads to conditions that the Supreme Court has found unconstitutional, according to a press release announcing the Wabash County lawsuit filed Wednesday.

In each of the jail overcrowding lawsuits, the ACLU seeks class-action status. 

Allen County officials declined to comment on the pending litigation.


Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.