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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Independent Commission Investigation of Suffolk County Sheriff's Department JC-MA-0012
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In the fall of 2001, at the request of Suffolk County Sheriff Richard Rouse, the Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift appointed a Special Commission to investigate and report on the operations and management of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department and the jail facilities under its control. The ... read more >
In the fall of 2001, at the request of Suffolk County Sheriff Richard Rouse, the Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift appointed a Special Commission to investigate and report on the operations and management of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department and the jail facilities under its control. The independent investigation came in the wake of serious allegations of inmate abuse, political patronage, lack of leadership and mismanagement. A prior FBI criminal investigation lead led to 2001 indictments in 2001 charging seven officers at the Jail with conspiracy, criminal civil rights violations, obstruction of justice, and perjury in connection with the deliberate use of excessive force and assaults on pre-trial detainees.

The Commission identified systemic deficiencies in the jail operations, which included: (1) the failure of leadership; (2) inadequate hiring and promotion practices; (3) the strain in labor/management relations and poor staff morale; (4) the absence of fully merged institutions; (5) inadequate training; (6) a disconnect between seemingly well-conceived policies and actual practice; and (7) a lack of internal and external accountability.

To correct the deficiencies, the Commission made the following specific recommendations:

(1) The Department must develop and implement a process for conducting internal audits of compliance with policies and procedures.
(2) The Department should develop performance measures to help officials assess whether policies and procedures are directed at achieving the desired outcomes.
(3) Key managers should regularly review and analyze important statistics about the Department.
(4) Facility administrators should be held accountable for performance at their institutions.
(5) The Sheriff should establish an ongoing inspection program for each facility.
(6) The Department should encourage more external influences.
(7) The Sheriff should report to the public on the Department's progress in addressing the Findings and Recommendations in this Report.

Those wishing to learn more about the investigation are encouraged to read the Report of the Special Commission on the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, JC-MA-0012-0001 of this collection.

Dan Dalton - 02/22/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary procedures
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Suffolk County Sheriff Dept
Plaintiff Description Special Commission appointed to investigate Suffolk County Sheriff's Dept.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Report of the Special Commission on the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department 10/15/2002
JC-MA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Common Ground: A Progress Report of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department 01/01/2004
JC-MA-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers Fine, Ralph I. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0012-0001
Green, Karen F. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0012-0001
Neighbors, Michael W. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0012-0001
Stern, Donald K. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0012-0001
Todd, J. Owen (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0012-0001

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