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Michigan to pay $80M to settle lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of minors in prisons

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Posted at 1:18 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 13:18:59-05

The Michigan Department of Corrections will pay $80 million to settle a lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse of minors in male state prisons.

The case, filed in 2013, was a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 1,300 youths. In addition to the money, the state will implement a policy within six months specifically tailored to juveniles to address segregation, discipline, use of force, staff training and the reporting and tracking of sexual abuse and harassment.

“Our job here in the Department of Attorney General has been not only to represent the Michigan Department of Corrections but also to represent the People of Michigan. For the past 15 months, we have worked to review every aspect of this case and to determine every option available,” Nessel said in a press release. “I believe prisoners are entitled to be treated with respect and basic human dignity. I know MDOC has made significant strides under the leadership of Director Washington and that the past seven years of litigation do not reflect the values of her administration or the current reality of life inside Michigan’s prison system. My hope is that this settlement allows us to move forward and brings closure for the inmates who have spent years of their lives litigating this matter. There are far better ways for the State to use its resources than to continue to engage in lengthy litigation.”

The settlement requires that any crime victim who is still owed restitution; any custodial parent who is owed child support; and any court that has given resources to a prisoner benefitting from the settlement must be paid first.

In 2016, all male juveniles were sent to a designated wing of the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer and are now in a special unit separate from older prisoners.