Case: CRIPA Investigation, Mercer County (NJ)

No Court

Filed Date: May 1, 1996

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 1, 1996, the Department of Justice sent a letter to County Administrator of Mercer County New Jersey stating its intent to investigate the conditions at the Mercer County Detention center as authorized by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The letter noted that the investigation would focus on, but would not be limited to allegations regarding inadequate medical care, environmental health and safety, and an unacceptably high risk of violence. At…

On May 1, 1996, the Department of Justice sent a letter to County Administrator of Mercer County New Jersey stating its intent to investigate the conditions at the Mercer County Detention center as authorized by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The letter noted that the investigation would focus on, but would not be limited to allegations regarding inadequate medical care, environmental health and safety, and an unacceptably high risk of violence.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Department approved a findings letter on July 25, 1997. The memorandum accompanying the letter indicated that the county had been uncooperative in the investigation by continually denying access to documents and prisoners. Nevertheless, the Department was able to conduct an investigation using other sources, including newspaper articles and the complaints of inmates and their families.

On August 11, 1997, the findings letter was sent. The letter concluded that a number of conditions at the jail violated the constitutional rights of the inmates and detailed those violations. Specifically, the letter discussed unconstitutional deficiencies with respect to First Amendment protections, general environmental safety and sanitation, fire safety, use of force by corrections officers, unacceptably high risks of violence, and medical and mental health care. The letter then recommended ten remedial measures that should be adopted. Finally, the letter indicated that the option of litigation to correct the deficiencies was not foreclosed. On that same day, the Department sent a letter to the U.S. Marshals service to encourage them to discontinue housing federal inmates at the detention center in light of the unconstitutional conditions.

Our file ends with the August 11, 1997 letters, so we do not know what, if any subsequent action was pursued in this matter.

Summary Authors

Sherrie Waldrup (4/12/2006)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)

Christie, Christopher James (New Jersey)

Gonzales, Alberto (District of Columbia)

Hochberg, Faith S. (New Jersey)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)

Christie, Christopher James (New Jersey)

Gonzales, Alberto (District of Columbia)

Hochberg, Faith S. (New Jersey)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Crowley, Sarah G. (New Jersey)

Hughes, Brian M. (New Jersey)

Sypek, Arthur R. (New Jersey)

Vuocolo, Alfred (New Jersey)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Mercer County Detention Center, Trenton, N.J.

CRIPA Investigation

May 1, 1996

May 1, 1996

Notice Letter

Memorandum re: Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Mercer County Detention Center, Trenton, N.J.

CRIPA Investigation

July 25, 1997

July 25, 1997

Findings Letter/Report

Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Mercer County Detention Center, Trenton, N.J.

CRIPA Investigation

Aug. 11, 1997

Aug. 11, 1997

Findings Letter/Report

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New Jersey

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 1, 1996

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Mercer County Detention Center (Trenton, Mercer), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

None of the above

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Fire safety

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run