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Case Name CRIPA Investigation of the Escambia County Jail JC-FL-0022
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
Additional Docket(s)   No Court
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 2009, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (“DOJ”) opened this investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Escambia County Jail, a jail in Pensacola, Florida, that housed approximately 1300 prisoners as of May 2013. The investigation sought to explore: practices ... read more >
In 2009, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (“DOJ”) opened this investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Escambia County Jail, a jail in Pensacola, Florida, that housed approximately 1300 prisoners as of May 2013. The investigation sought to explore: practices relating to the level of security; the adequacy of medical and mental health services; sanitation and environmental conditions. The investigation was undertaken pursuant to DOJ's authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

After some years of investigation, which included multiple tours of the facility by DOJ lawyers and expert consultants, the DOJ sent a Findings Letter on May 22, 2013, to the Escambia County Administrator and Escambia County Sheriff. The Findings Letter stated that DOJ had found the conditions at the facility were routinely violating the constitutional rights of prisoners. Specifically, the Findings Letter stated that: (1) Escambia County Jail has ignored obvious and serious security risks to prisoner safety; (2) The Jail’s use of black-only pods impermissibly discriminated against African-Americans; and (3) Escambia County Jail has ignored obvious and serious risks to prisoners’ mental health. The Findings Letter included proposed remedial measures. It also commended the Escambia County Jail for cooperating during the investigation and implementing improvements responsive to DOJ’s concerns (for example, the Jail agreeing to cease using black-only pods). The Letter expressed the DOJ’s intention to continue working with the Jail in a cooperative fashion going forward.

According to the DOJ's annual report to Congress, the investigation was closed in 2014 after an apparent natural gas explosion destroyed a significant part of the Jail.

Chris Pollack - 02/21/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Grievance Procedures
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Racial segregation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Escambia County
Plaintiff Description United States 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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2009
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Justice Department Finds Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement at Escambia County, Fla. Jail
JC-FL-0022-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/22/2013
Re: Investigation of the Escambia County Jail
JC-FL-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0022-0002

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