University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name CRIPA Investigation, Onondaga County (NY) JC-NY-0003
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 29, 1994, following the death of an inmate due to misuse of a chemical agent, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified Onondaga County, New York, of its intent to investigate the living conditions of inmates housed at the Onondaga County Public Safety Building in Syracuse, New York. ... read more >
On March 29, 1994, following the death of an inmate due to misuse of a chemical agent, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified Onondaga County, New York, of its intent to investigate the living conditions of inmates housed at the Onondaga County Public Safety Building in Syracuse, New York. The DOJ conducted this investigation under the authority of 42 U.S.C. §1997, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).

On September 30, 1994, the DOJ issued a findings letter detailing constitutional violations at the jail in the areas of security practices, environmental health, and safety conditions, all of which jeopardized the well-being of the prisoners. Specifically, the DOJ suggested changes and improvements in the areas of use of force, chemical agents, physical restraints, floor checks, grievance procedures, staffing levels, medical intake screening, treatment of chronic illnesses, medical service access, emergency response, medical records, dental care, fire protection, cell sanitation, inmate hygiene, food sanitation, inmate recreation, access to the courts, classification procedures for minors being held for adult trial, and racial hostility.

The DOJ closed the investigation in 1997 after the jail achieved voluntary compliance with the remedial measures suggested by the DOJ. We have no further information on the proceedings, as we have only the DOJ investigation notification letter and the findings letter.

Jessica Kincaid - 04/06/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Education
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Pepper/OC spray
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : chemical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Onondaga County
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Written: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of the Onondaga County Public Safety Building, Syracuse, NY 03/29/1994
JC-NY-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum re: Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of the Onondaga County Public Safety Building, Syracuse, NY 09/30/1994
JC-NY-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0003-0002
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0003-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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