U.S. Appeals Court
Benjamin v. Fraser, 161 F.Supp.2d 151 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). Department of Corrections officials who had entered into a consent decree governing conditions for pretrial detainees in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. jails moved for the immediate termination of those decrees under the provisions of the Prison Litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. Reform Act (PLRA PLRA Partido Liberal Radical Autentico (Paraguay)
PLRA Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ). The consent decree involved fourteen jails that housed over 10,000 inmates. The district court terminated some provisions of the decree, including those involving inmate correspondence and law libraries. The court held a hearing on the issues of environmental health and personal hygiene supplies. According to the court, the presence of some inoperable inoperable /in·op·er·a·ble/ (in-op´er-ah-b'l) not susceptible to treatment by surgery.
Unsuitable for a surgical procedure. sinks, toilets and showers in the jails did not rise to the level of a violation of pretrial detainees' due process rights. Judge Baer concluded "Clearly, in some of the institutions the plumbing is deplorable, but one must keep in mind that we are dealing with prisons juxtaposed jux·ta·pose
tr.v. jux·ta·posed, jux·ta·pos·ing, jux·ta·pos·es
To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast. with the tests set out in the applicable caselaw." The court found that the mere presence of vermin in the jails did not rise to the level of a violation of pretrial detainees' due process rights. The court distinguished between "vermin activity" and "vermin infestation infestation /in·fes·ta·tion/ (-fes-ta´shun) parasitic attack or subsistence on the skin and/or its appendages, as by insects, mites, or ticks; sometimes used to denote parasitic invasion of the organs and tissues, as by helminths. ."
State health code violations in the jails' food service were not found to rise to the level of a violation of pretrial detainees' due process rights, where sanitary practices were adequate and no detainee had suffered a reported incident of food-borne illness.
Due process violations were found from the combination of various unsanitary un·san·i·tar·y
Not sanitary. conditions in cells and clinics, together with poor lighting. The court noted that the combination of inhumane conditions of confinement may violate the constitution when taken together--such as cold temperature combined with lack of blankets--even though each condition alone would not amount to a violation. The conditions included: unsanitary mattresses; soiled light shields and other lighting problems; dirty or clogged ventilation registers; vermin activity mildewed and decrepit bathroom and shower areas; clogged toilets; dirty janitor's closets; shortages of laundry detergent; dirty cells; and dirty clinic areas. (New York City Department of Corrections)