South Carolina Jail To Add Virus Protections After Aclu Deal

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina county jail will implement new COVID-19 protections for inmates to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups.

Operators of the Spartanburg County Detention Center agreed in July to implement or encourage measures meant to limit the spread of the virus and decrease overcrowding, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported Thursday.

That includes providing testing and vaccines to inmates, requiring jail staff to wear face masks and encouraging patrol officers to limit custodial arrests for non-violent offenses.

The legal groups said they tried to convince officials to reduce the jail population and mitigate the risks of an outbreak before filing the lawsuit in May 2020 on behalf of inmates and their family members.

“People shouldn’t be forced to endure conditions that pose grave and unnecessary risks to their health and their lives simply because they’ve been accused of a crime,” said Appleseed Legal Justice Center attorney Adam Protheroe in a statement.

Wright told the newspaper that the ACLU didn't need to file suit.

“The ACLU lied again, they didn’t win no litigation, reach no settlement,” Wright said. “We were already doing what they wanted us to do. They asked for more planning and we’re doing that."