MOUNT PLEASANT (WWJ/AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan claims the Isabella County jail isn’t treating women inmates fairly and doesn’t allow all inmates enough time outside their cells.

The claims about the jail in Mount Pleasant were made in a federal lawsuit announced earlier this week.

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The ACLU says women inmates are denied access to community service opportunities and trustee positions that are available to men. The suit alleges that there isn’t justification in keeping “all inmates in crowded cells for 24 hours a day.”

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski told The Morning Sun that inmates need opportunities for community service and trustee positions, but that’s determined by an outside classification system and available jobs. He said opportunities for inmates to get out of cells are limited by the facility’s size.

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Mioduszewski said he wants to work with the ACLU on the issues and see what can be done, and that at some point in the future the county might have to look at building a new jail.

The suit is asking a federal judge to declare the lack of any out-of-cell exercise unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and that not allowing women to get trusty positions violates their rights under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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