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ACLU wants oversight of Maricopa Jails to continue

The ACLU is arguing a case in federal court this week aimed to continue oversight of Maricopa County and the way it handles healthcare in its jails.

In 2008, a federal judge ordered oversight of Maricopa County and its sheriff’s office when it was found the jails were not meeting constitutional minimums in various areas.

MCSO was found to have been violating aspects such as overcrowding and sanitation in pre-trial detainee holding cells, said Legal Director Dan Pochoda for the ACLU.

The county, which controls the health and mental care within the jails, was not adequately providing things such as medical screenings, delivery of services and referrals to hospitals.

After a few years, it was found that MCSO had made improvements to reach the required minimum and the oversight was removed. Now the county is seeking the same treatment.

“The county has made a motion to get out from under the rest of the decree,” Pochoda said. “Our position… is that it is not yet, and it has not yet become adequate delivery of care in these very important areas and as a result unnecessary harms are being inflicted on the detention population.”

Pochoda said they’re seeking the continuation of the court oversight to ensure that the county is working to meet the minimum requirements. The ACLU is presenting its case before Federal Judge Neil Wake through Thursday.