Jefferson: ACLU seeks class-action status in jail lawsuit

PORT HADLOCK — The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking class-action status in its lawsuit over “substandard” conditions at the Jefferson County jail.

The ACLU submitted additional testimony Friday from 23 former inmates who had complaints about jail conditions.

The rights organization filed the statements in U.S. District Court in Tacoma in an attempt to get the lawsuit brought in February certified as a “class-action” lawsuit.

The original lawsuit over jail conditions was brought on behalf of only one inmate — Shawn Orndorff, who claimed he was repeatedly denied prescription medication and provided with only a “single thin blanket . . . insufficient to provide warmth” while at the jail.

The additional testimony alleges prisoners were forced to wear prison jumpsuits for weeks at a time without being washed and that jail conditions were unsanitary, with toilets often backed up for days at a time.

Other prisoners allege they were denied medication and medical care, the documents show.

And one pregnant female inmate alleges guards would not take her to the hospital when she began bleeding unexpectedly.

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