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ACLU: Squalid Conditions At Troubled Baltimore Jail

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Mold, mice and a lack of medical care: Inhumane conditions that advocates say continue to plague the Baltimore City Detention Center, and may be linked to seven deaths.

Now they've moved to reopen a lawsuit to force state officials to make improvements.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the developments.

That lawsuit alleges pervasive management failures have led to unconstitutional conditions inside the detention center.

Black mold growing around vents.

"You're fighting lice, mice, roaches," said Debra Gardner, Public Justice Center.

Showers with so much rust, you can barely see the floor.

"Eighty-five degree temperatures in the summer, bone chilling cold and drafts in the winter," Gardner continued.

Mattresses -- shredded with stuffing falling out.

All of it attorneys say was found this year behind the doors of the Baltimore City Detention Center.

"That's an unacceptable level of risk for the people who have to stay there," said Gardner.

For decades, civil rights organizations have fought to clean up conditions at the facility.

Now Debra Gardner with the Public Justice Center says the state is in violation of a settlement agreement, failing to fix issues and provide adequate healthcare.

A motion filed Tuesday details 13 deaths in the facility over the past two and a half years.

"The poor access to healthcare may have contributed to seven of those deaths. That's more than half," said Gardner.

The detention center is the same facility at the center of the prison gang scandal back in 2013.

The lawsuit alleges deteriorating physical conditions of the jail may have contributed to gang activity.

Corrections Secretary Stephen Moyer, who's only been on the job four months, says he is looking into these longstanding concerns, saying in part: "We are committed to providing the best service to our clients and will remain committed to ensuring that accepted standards are met."

Public safety officials say over the past ten years, they've spent $58 million on safety and security improvements at the detention center.

The Department of Justice has been monitoring progress at the Baltimore City Detention Center after launching its own investigation into conditions back in 2000.

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