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Case Name United States v. Shelby County JC-TN-0001
Docket / Court 02-2633 ( W.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On August 12, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit against Shelby County, Tennessee, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Memphis Division. The government asked the court for ... read more >
On August 12, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit against Shelby County, Tennessee, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Memphis Division. The government asked the court for injunctive relief, alleging that conditions at Shelby County Jail violated the rights, privileges and immunities of those incarcerated there. Specific problems included security and staffing, medical and mental health care, and environmental health and safety. among other concerns.

Previously, on August 24, 2000, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Mayor of Shelby County indicating an intention to investigate conditions at the Jail pursuant to CRIPA. Separate litigation by an inmate challenging unconstitutional conditions at the jail had been ongoing since 1996. Little v. Shelby County (JC-TN-0004).

On October 4-6 and December 11-13, 2000, the government toured the Jail. And, on June 27, 2001, the government sent a findings letter to the Mayor indicating it found conditions at the Jail unconstitutional. The parties began negotiating a remedy in July 2000, and produced a settlement agreement.

On August 12, 2002, the same day the United States filed its complaint, it also filed the settlement agreement with the District Court. The parties filed a joint motion to conditionally dismiss the case. And, on August 15, 2002, the District Court (Judge Bernice B. Donald) conditionally dismissed the case, specifically retaining jurisdiction to monitor compliance with the agreement.

With respect to security and supervision, the settlement agreement established policies for security staffing and training, population management, security policies and procedures, classification and discipline, use of force, grievance procedures, and gang management. With respect to medical and mental health, the settlement agreement established policies for screening, medication and specialty care, sick call and staffing, mental health information and intervention, chronic and critical care, suicide prevention, universal precautions, and critical incident reviews. With respect to environmental health and safety, the settlement agreement established policies for food services, housekeeping, preventative maintenance and pest control, personal hygiene and laundry, plumbing, ventilation, fire safety and emergency preparedness. The settlement agreement further established policies for access to the courts, exercise opportunities, reporting, implementation, enforcement and termination.

We have no further information on this case.

Josh Altman - 10/04/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
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) Shelby County Jail
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2002 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-TN-0004 : Little v. Shelby County (W.D. Tenn.)
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)
02-2633 (W.D. Tenn.) 11/16/2009
JC-TN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Joint Motion 08/06/2002
JC-TN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Complaint 08/12/2002
JC-TN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Order of Conditional Dismissal 08/15/2002 (W.D. Tenn.)
JC-TN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 01/01/2003
JC-TN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Findings Letter 06/16/2005
JC-TN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
JOINT MOTION OF THE PARTIES FOR ORDER OF FINAL DISMISSAL 10/01/2009
JC-TN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Donald, Bernice Bouie (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit)
JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Bohan, Mary (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-0006 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Harris, Terrell L. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0001 | JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Yeomans, William R. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0001-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Fessenden, Debra L. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0006 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Jones, Fred E. Jr. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0003 | JC-TN-0001-0005 | JC-TN-0001-9000
Laurenzi, Lawrence J. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0004
Rout, Jim (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0002
Strother, Don D. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0004
Wilson, Donnie E. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0001-0002 | JC-TN-0001-0004
Other Lawyers None on record

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