Mistreatment of Women at the Muskegon County Jail

October 07, 2015

At the Muskegon County Jail, male guards routinely view naked or partially naked female inmates while they are showering, dressing, or using the toilet; the women are denied feminine hygiene products, so that they bleed into their clothes; and female prisoners are rarely if ever allowed any exercise outside of their cells. 

After attempting for almost two years to work with Muskegon County to resolve these systemic problems, in December 2014 the ACLU of Michigan filed a federal class action lawsuit to bring the jail into compliance with constitutional standards. 

Judge Janet Neff denied the jail’s motion to dismiss the women’s cross-gender viewing and exercise claims, and discovery on those claims is ongoing.  However, Judge Neff ruled against the women on the feminine hygiene claim, and the ACLU has appealed that issue to the Sixth Circuit.

(Semelbauer v. Muskegon County; ACLU Attorneys Miriam Aukerman, Dan Korobkin and Michael J. Steinberg, and Legal Fellows Marc Allen and Sofia Nelson; Cooperating Attorney Kevin Carlson.)