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State of Michigan settles prisoners' rape claims

According to the Detroit Free Press and the Associated Press, on July 15, the State agreed to pay $100 million dollars to settle a class action lawsuit brought by women prisoners incarcerated in Michigan prisons.  The action included more than 500 female inmates who claimed sexual assaults, abuse and harassment by male corrections department staff.   Two jury trials had resulted in verdicts for 20 inmates that had already exceeded 60 million dollars in damages and interest, and there were dozens of cases yet to be tried.  The first verdict for $15.5 million dollars for the first ten inmates had been upheld on appeal in January.  The settlement will be paid in annual installments through the year 2014.    The lawsuit was filed in 1996 and documented an atmosphere of inappropriate treatment of women by male custodians.

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