On October 25, 1985, pretrial detainees and inmates in the Onondaga County Jail in New York filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York against both the county and the state seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to reduce the jail population to levels that would insure the inmates were not being held in unconstitutional conditions. The inmates were represented by Syracuse University Law Clinic. On November 22, 1985, the court (Judge Howard Munson) certified the class including both pretrial detainees and convicted inmates. On February 3, 1986, after a hearing on the inmate's motion for a preliminary injunction, the court (Judge Munson) granted the preliminary injunction, enjoining the defendants from housing inmates on the floor, housing general inmates with mentally ill inmates, and ordered the defendants to prepare a report detailing the number or inmates accepted each day and the charges against them. Albro v. Co. of Onondaga, New York, 627 F.Supp. 1280 (N.D.N.Y. 1986). The court suggested, but did not require, that the county stop accepting discretionary inmates. Soon after, the county terminated its contracts with other entities to house their inmates. On July 17, 1986, the court appointed a special master (Donald Stoughton). On June 26, 1987, the court ordered the state to reduce the number of state-ready inmates and ordered the county not to allow the jail population to exceed 248. On January 14, 1988 the court (Judge Munson) ordered a permanent injunction against the defendants.
On April 5, 1988, the court (Judge Munson) found that the majority of people being held at the jail were pretrial detainees and therefore the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause governed their confinement. Albro v. Onondaga County, N.Y., 681 F.Supp. 991 (N.D.N.Y. 1988). The court found that the conditions at the jail were unconstitutional and ordered that a population cap of 212 inmates be established and that the county submit a short term plan to remedy the constitutional violations. The court also ordered that only minimum security inmates be housed in the gymnasium (maximum 15 inmates) and imposed fines of $1,000 per day for each prisoner in excess of the population cap. On May 10, 1988, on recommendation from the special master, the court (Judge Munson) raised the population cap for the gymnasium from 15 to 24 inmates. Albro v. Co. of Onondaga, New York, no. 85-CV-1425, 1988 WL 46616 (N.D.N.Y. May 10, 1988).
Litigation continued until the parties reached a settlement agreement and on March 3, 1997, the court (Judge Munson) approved the agreement, dismissed the case, and remitted the fines accrued against the defendants upon their implementation of the programs agreed to. The court stated that prior orders and judgments were decreed to be satisfied.
The plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney's fees and on February 4, 1998, the court (Judge Munson) found that the plaintiffs were prevailing parties and granted the motion. Jaclyn Adams - 04/05/2006