University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation: Baltimore City Detention Center ("BCDC") JC-MD-0010
Docket / Court No Court ( No Court )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On October 16, 2000, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC), pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 and the ... read more >
On October 16, 2000, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC), pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. As part of its investigation, the DOJ conducted on-site inspections of the facility with expert consultants; interviewed correctional and administrative staff, inmates, medical and mental health care providers, and fire safety, food service and sanitation personnel; and reviewed BCDC's policies and procedures, incident reports, medical and mental health records, inmate grievances, use of force records, and investigative reports.

On August 13, 2002, the DOJ issued a findings letter which concluded that certain conditions at BCDC violated the constitutional rights of prisoners at the facility. Specifically, the DOJ found that BCDC was deliberately indifferent to prisoners' medical and mental health needs, prisoners suffered harm from deficiencies in the facility's fire safety protections and sanitation, and juveniles detained at the facility were not kept safe from adult inmates. In addition, the DOJ found that BCDC violated eligible prisoners' rights to education. The DOJ articulated a series of remedies for BCDC to implement to correct the above unconstitutional practices. In 2003, the State of Maryland and BCDC voluntarily initiated a commitment to change the environment at the facility.

In 2005, the DOJ again toured BCDC to review the progress made. On January 16, 2007, the parties entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that outlined specific reforms and improvements to be made to remedy the above constitutional violations. The MOA provided that DOJ and its experts would conduct periodic monitoring to ensure compliance with the terms of the Agreement. The MOA was set to terminate four years after its effective date.

In April 2012, because BCDC had not yet achieved substantial compliance with several provisions of the Agreement, the parties agreed to enter into an Extension of the MOA. In the Extension, the parties removed those provisions with which the DOJ acknowledged the state had achieved substantial compliance and maintained the other provisions from the original Agreement. The Extension was set to terminate two years after its execution date. According to the DOJ's website, it is continuing to monitor conditions at BCDC as of the date of this summary.

Dan Dalton - 02/11/2008
Nate West - 11/14/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Content of Injunction
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Youth / Adult separation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) State of Maryland
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2007 - 2014
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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 ]

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Extension of the Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of Justice and the State of Maryland Regarding the Baltimore City Detention Center
JC-MD-0010-0003 PDF | Detail
Findings Letter 08/13/2002
JC-MD-0010-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Agreement 01/01/2007
JC-MD-0010-0002 PDF | Detail
Case Summary 11/14/2014
JC-MD-0010-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbate, Julie K. (District of Columbia)
Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Curran, John Joseph Jr. (Maryland)
Delaney, Joshua (District of Columbia)
Dibiagio, Thomas M. (Maryland)
Hansher, Beth (District of Columbia)
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
Marrow, Glenn Todd (Maryland)
Murray, Jeffrey Robert (District of Columbia)
Welsh, Elizabeth A (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Gansler, Douglas F. (Maryland)
JC-MD-0010-0002 | JC-MD-0010-0003
Hoffman, Donald E. (Maryland)
Lane-Weber, Stephanie (Maryland)
Nathan, Stuart M. (Maryland)
JC-MD-0010-0002 | JC-MD-0010-0003
Pothier, Karl Aram (Maryland)
Other Lawyers None on record

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