Filed Date: Jan. 6, 2005
Closed Date: June 30, 2019
Clearinghouse coding complete
After eleven years of litigation and five failed consent decrees, Camden County, New Jersey corrections officials have finally agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a federal civil rights suit that alleged severe overcrowding, sanitation, poor nutrition, and environmental violations of prisoners’ rights.
On January 6, 2005, plaintiffs filed pro se action alleging that severe overcrowding at the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) has caused serious deprivations of their health and safety in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 2005 WL 6022128. CCCF housed inmates awaiting trial or sentenced to less than one year in prison. The complaint sought court-ordered improvements for the CCCF, rather than monetary awards for all inmates.
Magistrate Judge Rosen appointed pro bono counsel for the plaintiffs, and upon the appointment of counsel, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint.
Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that CCCF was constructed in 1988 and designed to house 1,267 prisoners. By March 2004, the population exceeded 1,800 prisoners and at other points, exceeded 2,000 prisoners, which resulted in an extremely overpopulated and understaffed facility which creating an unsafe, unhealthy, and unsanitary environment for people incarcerated therein. 2005 WL 6022128.
On July 31, 2007, the court granted the defendants' motion for class certification, certifying a class of all individuals incarcerated at CCCF from the inception of the lawsuit to January 6, 2005, including pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. 2005 WL 6022128.
In January 2009, the parties entered into a consent decree (“First Consent Decree”) which authorized the retention of a criminal justice planning firm, which provided a number of recommendations for the improvement of conditions at CCCF. Chief among those conditions was the creation by the County of a “Jail Population Manager.” This manager would be responsible for monitoring, coordinating, and ensuring the efficient processing of the jail population and would serve as a liaison to the Superior Court of New Jersey, the municipal courts, the prosecutor, the defense bar, and other community corrections programs. 2005 WL 6022128.
In August 2009, the parties entered into another consent decree (“Second Consent Decree”) which the court approved. The Second Consent Decree authorized the implementation of many of the criminal justice planning firm’s recommendations. In April 2011, the parties entered into another consent decree (“Third Consent Decree”). At that time, a full-time jail population manager was hired. Subsequently, the court awarded attorneys' fees on October 5, 2009. 2005 WL 6022128.
Ultimately, on June 30, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Simandle approved a final consent decree. The final consent decree created a system whereby population levels at the CCCF will be maintained at lower levels, more efficient jail-management practices instituted, and conditions of confinement substantially improved.
Under the terms of the consent decree, in addition to improvements at CCCF, attorneys representing the prisoners received $155,000 in legal fees, two of the four named plaintiffs were each paid $1,500 and the other two were paid $1,000 each. The case is now closed.
Rebecca Fisher (3/26/2021)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5731919/parties/dittimus-bey-v-taylor/
Acchione, Nicole M (New Jersey)
Rodriguez, Lisa J (New Jersey)
Goldberg, Howard Lane (New Jersey)
Kemble, Thomas E. (New Jersey)
Johnson-Stokes, Barbara Ann (New Jersey)
Schneider, Joel (New Jersey)
Simandle, Jerome B. (New Jersey)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5731919/dittimus-bey-v-taylor/
Last updated June 30, 2023, 3:15 a.m.
State / Territory: New Jersey
Filing Date: Jan. 6, 2005
Closing Date: June 30, 2019
Case Ongoing: No
All individuals incarcerated at CCCF from the inception of the lawsuit to January 6, 2005, including pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners.
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: Yes
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Amount Defendant Pays: $160,000
Content of Injunction:
Type of Facility: