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The Baltimore City Detention Center

Settlement reached in class-action suit over conditions at BCDC

The Baltimore City Detention Center’s health care system will be overhauled and its facilities will be improved as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiffs announced Wednesday.

The Public Justice Center, the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander, and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge in June to reopen the case, Duvall v. Hogan. Court orders dating back to 1993, a 2009 settlement and the 2007 agreement between the jail and the U.S. Justice Department failed to address the conditions of the facility, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“At last, the Baltimore City Detention Center will provide adequate, timely medical care to detainees instead of abandoning those with injuries and illnesses,” Debra Gardner, legal director at the Public Justice Center, said in a statement Wednesday. “After years of litigation, the jail will meet its constitutional and ethical responsibilities to those inside its walls.”

The latest settlement agreement requires jail staff to establish and follow schedules for assessing, treating, and monitoring detainees’ physical and mental health problems. The agreement also stipulates that staff track detainees’ medical records and provide essential medications without interruption.

Independent monitors will assess the jail’s progress in meeting terms of the agreement, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander still must approve the settlement.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers sought to reopen the case one month before Gov. Larry Hogan announced the closing of the detention center’s men’s facility.