Chesterton Tribune


Porter County Jail inmate sues Sheriff Lain alleging inhumane conditions at jail

Back to Front Page




An inmate of the Porter County Jail is suing Sheriff Dave Lain, alleging “inhumane conditions of confinement” at the facility.

Jerome Scott filed his hand-written suit on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond.

Scott—who identifies himself in the suit as a pre-trial detainee who entered the jail on Nov. 29, 2011—alleges that PCJ is overcrowded, conditions unsanitary, medical care poor, and food insufficient. The suit names Lain, Warden John Widup, and Capt. Ron Taylor.

Scott specifically makes the following allegations, among others:

•As many as four or five detainees are housed in cells designed for two. “Detainees always complain that there’s no room to sleep in the cell,” Scott states, and “You can’t even use the restroom in the cell because it’s too crowded to do so.” He adds, “Mattress(es) are so thin you feel like you are sleeping on steel and not cotton. Detainee requested many times for a double mattress for medical reasons which shows on detainee record and yet detainee was denied.”

•“To be able to communicate with any jail staff, detainee must usually wait until food trays are brought,” Scott states. “Even when detainee(s) activate the alert buttons in their cells, they are ignored. Detainee(s) who are injured from fights in cells often must wait hours for help.”

•“The cells are extremely unsanitary,” Scott states. “Each cell contains only a single toilet, often used by dozens of people. Making conditions even more dangerously unsanitary, some detainees who withdraw from drug addiction in the holding or regular cells vomit and defecate on themselves and the floors.”

•“On information and belief, the drug-resistant staph infection MRSA is rampant in Porter County Jail,” Scott states.

•“Many inmates are malnourished,” “non-meat eaters are usually given no alternative to bologna,” and the “common practice” by which guards slide food trays into cells and leave the inmates themselves distribute the food means that “detainee(s) who are less dominant, or who are asleep when the trays come . . . won’t get to eat at all,” Scott states.

•“The detainees receive little to no medical care, including prompt distribution of needed medicine,” Scott states. “Detainees do not have access to any medical staff after 10 p.m.”

•“Detainee is always limited time to access the law library,” Scott states.

•“When detainees complain about the conditions of the cells or ask to file grievances, they are either ignored or prevented by guards from filing grievances,” Scott states.

Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer for the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, told the Chesterton Tribune today that, as a matter of policy, the PCSP does not comment on pending litigation.



Posted 12/5/2012