Another civil rights lawsuit against our sheriff and our county was filed last week claiming cruel and unusual punishment for all prisoners housed in the Isabella County Jail.

Our sheriff keeps inmates in their cells sometimes with many other occupants all day everyday (24/7) creating an excessive punishment situation… Punishment more punishing than that ordered by the criminal courts.


“Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski agrees with the American Civil Liberties Union on a few things.

First, he sees a need for a place for jail inmates to get exercise.

Second, he understands the point on eligible inmates being allowed to gain trusty status or do community service.

Trouble is, the sheriff said, he has little control over either.”

Seriously Leo? Apparently you need more than an impressive resume to be an effective problem solver. Additionally, you have just publicly agreed to the complaints against yourself and the county ensuring our liability unless you can convince a jury that you were truly powerless as our sheriff to do anything about it.

All over the country, trusted (and in some cases not so trusted) inmates are allowed to work, killing two birds with one stone.

An inmate allowed to work for the County accomplishes several things.

  • First, the inmate is allowed to more rapidly pay his/her debt to society, relieving the county of what might otherwise be un-collectable debt.
  • Second, allows citizen’s tax dollars to go further by reducing labor costs associated with county and other projects.
  • Third, satisfies all of the complaints listed in the NEW civil Rights Lawsuit against the county by allowing the trusted inmates time out of cell and while furnishing exercise at the same time. 

    Our current sheriff would rather drag us into another costly civil rights lawsuit than find suitable solutions to an easy problem while claiming to be powerless to do anything about it.

    While other, “similar-size jails”, claim through inmate work related projects to be saving counties upwards of $84,000 dollars per year (calculated at minimum wage) by putting inmates to work, Leo has been keeping our inmates restricted to their cells 24 hours a day because we don’t have a gymnasium?

    I would be the last person to vote for “Hilton-izing” our jail but like it or not, making life a little more tolerable for inmates also creates a much safer work environment for the employees that work there.

    The fair and just treatment of our prisoners is not only important, it is our responsibility. While I firmly believe that criminals should most definitely be punished, I also believe that their punishment should not exceed that imposed by the judge and should never give rise to lawsuits for violating civil rights.


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