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In a stinging defeat for the Michigan Department of Corrections, The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of 10 female prisoners who were awarded $15.5 million in damages for sexual abuse by prison guards at the Scott Correctional Facility in the 1990’s.

The Court of Appeals rendered their unanimous ruling just two weeks after the close of oral arguments, and many are amazed at how quickly they reached their decision. Ann Arbor Judge Timothy Connors’s ruling was upheld, in spite of claims by prison officials that he botched the case at the trial level. The Department of Corrections said that the case would likely be taken to the Supreme Court.

As reported in “Felons Guarding Felons: Cruel and Unusual parts 1 and 2," more than 500 women have come forward with claims of abuse by prison guards in Michigan prisons during the 1990’s. This week’s decision is a landmark ruling in the State of Michigan, prisoners have the basic human right not to be raped by state prison employees.

The Michigan Department of Corrections is facing the possibility that these incidents of sexual abuse could cost Michigan taxpayers more that $50 million in damages and attorney’s fees. However, there is no mention of settling with the other women until after all appeals have been exhausted. It seems as thought the Department does not see the trees from the forest here. Once all appeals have been exhausted, the judgments become final and any opportunities to settle become exhausted.

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