Carruthers v. Tony
Carruthers v. Tony addresses the conditions at the Broward County Jail in Broward County, Florida. A consent decree was approved and confirmed in 1995. This consent decree acknowledged that the conditions in which the inmates lived were unconstitutional. It set a population cap for the jail and compliance monitoring. The ACLU joined as counsel in 2001 to oppose Defendants’ efforts to terminate the consent decree. In 2004 two Stipulations for settlement were entered by the Settling Parties and the County. These Stipulations dismissed the medical claims and narrowed the scope of “continuing monitoring [and] inspection.” These Stipulations also limited judicial oversight of the jail to issues “relating to mental health services, inmate rules and discipline, inmate safety and security, facility capacity, and inmate access to religious publication and services and access to legal material.” In 2010, there was a significant increase in the jail population leading to overcrowding. That same year the Court appointed a population management expert to produce a public report that examined the processes and policies affecting the population at the jail. In 2014, two prisoners filed motions asserting that the Consent Decree had been violated. In 2016, the Court held a hearing on whether to dissolve the Consent Decree. Since the 2016 hearing, the parties have been involved in negotiations to address conditions at the jail. The court preliminarily approved a settlement in 2016. Conditions at the jail were described as “absolutely inhumane” in a 2018 report by a mental health expert. Following the report, the parties crafted a comprehensive decree that would alleviate the problems in mental health services at the jail. Seriously mentally ill patients would not be placed in solitary confinement under the agreement and individual treatment plans would be developed and implemented for all mental health patients. This agreement awaits approval from the presiding judge.