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The Cumberland County Jail. (Photo: Courtesy of InmateAid)

Federal authorities claim constitutional violations at Cumberland County Jail

Facility failed to provide opioid cessation treatments to inmates undergoing withdrawal, they said

By Nikita Biryukov, January 14 2021 4:43 pm

Federal authorities alleged the Cumberland County Jail committed constitutional breaches by failing to provide mental health and opioid cessation treatments to inmates Thursday.

“Our investigation revealed that Cumberland County fails to provide adequate mental health care to inmates at risk of self-harm and suicide,” acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights John B. Daukas said. “We look forward to working with County officials to ensure that the jail provides constitutionally adequate care, including medication-assisted treatment for inmates experiencing unmedicated opiate withdrawal, when appropriate.”

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey charge the jail violated the Eighth and 14th Amendments by failing to provide medication-assisted treatments to inmates suffering opioid withdrawal.

The facility, which county officials are moving to close, recently began administering such treatments, though federal authorities said it wasn’t clear whether the jail would be able to do so in the future.

“We have been encouraged by the cooperation of Cumberland County Jail officials throughout our investigation, and their stated commitment to ensure the safety and constitutional rights of their inmates,” acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them to resolve these significant concerns.”

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