Starting in 1972, Marion County Jail in Indiana was the subject of a long-running case to improve its conditions. One of the results of that case was a federal injunction putting a cap on the maximum population size of the jail. We do not have much information on this initial phase of the ...
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Starting in 1972, Marion County Jail in Indiana was the subject of a long-running case to improve its conditions. One of the results of that case was a federal injunction putting a cap on the maximum population size of the jail. We do not have much information on this initial phase of the litigation. What we do know is that after the passage of PLRA, on July 21, 1997, officials at the jail asked the court to lift the population cap so it could put in bunk beds and house an additional one hundred and sixty inmates. One month later, on August 19, 1997, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Judge S. Hugh Dillon) entered a temporary restraining order against any stay or suspension of the existing orders governing the jail, but did not rule on the jail's request. After a year without action or comment from the district court, jail officials sought mandamus to compel a ruling. That action prompted the district court, again without hearing or explanation, to enter an order effectively lifting the cap. One hundred and sixty beds were immediately added to the jail, and inmates appealed the lifting of the population cap.
On May 6, 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Frank Easterbrook), citing a "promptness" requirement in the PLRA, remanded the case to the district court, giving the court thirty days to decide on the plaintiffs' claim that adding the additional beds was a violation of the federal injunction because continued relief to maintain conditions at the Marion County Jail is appropriate under the PLRA. Berwanger v. Cottey, 178 F.3d 834 (7th Cir. 1999). The court also held that the district court erred by letting more than a year pass without action on the motion to terminate prospective relief and then terminating the decree without making any findings.
The docket, last updated on October 27, 2004, does not show any further activity on the case.Ben Kelly - 03/06/2006