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Pete Mackey
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Michigan Prison Faces Sex Assault Law Suits

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The Michigan prison system may find that protecting female inmates from sexual assaults by guards is not just the morally right thing to do, but that it makes business sense, as well. In the first of a five part series, Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press reports that inmate rights groups have been reporting sexual assaults for years, to no avail. Now, the system faces a mass of lawsuits. Seidel’s lead in says it all:

For years, rights groups warned that male guards were sexually assaulting female inmates in Michigan prisons. For years, those warnings went unheeded. Now, state taxpayers may pay a price too. More than 500 women are suing. They stand to collect $50 million so far, with more trials to come. This is their story.

How does a problem of this magnitude get ignored for so long? The state’s defense – the prisoners are lying, but if they are not lying, it was just a few bad apple guards, not a systemic problem. Apparently, juries made up of the same taxpayers who will foot the bill for this atrocious conduct disagree. To date, the verdicts total about $50,000,000, and that is just for the first 18 women (there are about 500 plaintiffs in the class). This is compelling reading. Give me your thoughts.