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
•“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
•“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.