On March 23, 1979, prisoners in Florida's county jails filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Florida against the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. The class consisted of all persons who were or would be confined in the county jails. Southern Legal Counsel, the Florida Justice Institute, the ACLU National Prison Project, and private counsel represented the class. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendant failed to carry out his duty to promulgate and maintain minimum constitutional standards in the county jails. The plaintiffs further alleged that the conditions at the county jails constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
According to the complaint the plaintiffs were subjected to continuous cell confinement, denial of adequate recreation, arbitrary restrictions on visitation and correspondence, inadequate and unsanitary living conditions, arbitrary and cruel discipline, and the risk of inmate-on-inmate violence. The plaintiffs also complained that they were denied access to the courts, work, education, and rehabilitative opportunities.
In 1981, the defendant, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, filed a lawsuit in Florida State Court against Monroe County, the Monroe County Sheriff, and the county commissioners, who were responsible for the operation and maintenance of the county jails. The Department of Corrections sought injunctive relief, alleging that Monroe County failed to operate and manage the Monroe County Jail in compliance with state law.
After negotiation, the parties reached an agreement on June 12, 1981. The Stipulation and Agreement was signed and dated by the District Court (Magistrate Judge Crongeyer) on July 9, 1981. The agreement resolved the disputes between the parties regarding the duty of the defendant to conduct adequate jail inspections, and the duty of the defendant to take effective action to enforce the rules and regulations governing the maintenance and operation of Florida jails. The stipulated agreement did not address the sufficiency of the rules and regulations that were in place. The agreement further provided that the action be dismissed with prejudice. The District Court (Judge William Stafford), in compliance with the agreement, dismissed the action on December 21, 1981. The court retained jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcement and execution of the agreement.
Although the Governor of Florida was not a party to the action, the parties sought the governor's endorsement of the agreement. The governor, however, refused his endorsement.
We have no further information on this case. Thus, it appears to be closed.Kaitlin Corkran - 06/13/2006