The ACLU of Michigan (ACLU), Advancement Project National Office, Civil Rights Corps (CRC), LaRene & Kriger P.L.C. and the Law Firm of Pitt, McGhee, Palmer and Rivers sued Oakland County, Oakland County Sheriff, Michael Bouchard, and Commander of Corrective Services Curtis D. Childs, in federal court, calling for the release of incarcerated people who are medically vulnerable. The lawsuit argues that county officials are risking the lives of people locked up, jail staff, and the larger community due to their failure to respond to the threat of COVID-19.
The lawsuit states that those in jail lack adequate access to soap, sanitizer, are unable to practice social distancing due to crowded living quarters, and face retaliation from jail staff when seeking help to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
“Being locked up in jail should not be a death sentence, but that is what people behind bars are facing in the Oakland County Jail and jails across the state because of this pandemic. At the very least, most incarcerated people who are pre-trial, medically frail, or whose sentences end this year should be released immediately,” said Phil Mayor, a senior attorney with the ACLU of Michigan. “Meanwhile, Oakland County Jail staff must do everything in their power to protect people remaining in their custody by providing adequate soap and disinfectant, ensuring social distancing, and thereby ending their unconscionable retaliation against those attempting to protect themselves from the deadly virus.”