- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) - A group of inmates who sued in 2013 over poor conditions at Monterey County’s Main Jail have agreed to settle their lawsuit, the parties announced Monday.

The deal lays the groundwork for improvements in medical, dental and mental health care, disability access, safety and suicide prevention, the Monterey Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1FalBLN). It also calls on the county to develop plans for adequate staffing and increase the use of alternative custody programs to alleviate crowding at the county’s troubled jail.

Inmates’ lawyer Michael Bien said the settlement will help remedy problems that have persisted for years.

Complaints about the jail have persisted for years, and it consistently ranks as one of the most overcrowded local jails in the state. There have been reports of inmate violence and drug deaths, attacks on correctional officers and a higher-than-average inmate suicide rate, with ongoing but separate litigation against the county.

Charles McKee, the county’s top lawyer, praised the settlement, saying it will allow both sides to work on permanent solutions without having to go through a trial.

“We, as a community, want to make sure we are treating the inmates as humanely and appropriately as a penal institution should,” McKee said.


Information from: The Monterey County Herald, https://www.montereyherald.com

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