Black Crow v. Lake County Jail 

Individuals incarcerated in Polson's Lake County jail have been subject to dangerous, unhygienic, and overcrowded conditions for years.  As a result, inmates face significant risk of assault, regular exposure to mold and human waste, and lack access to exercise and sunlight.  These conditions are disproportionately borne by enrolled members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.  In addition to the physical deterioration of the jail, the jail provides access only to Christian religious ceremonies—violating both the federal and state constitutions.  This lawsuit, filed in March 2022, seeks a declaration that the County has violated inmates’ rights and an injunction to prevent inmates from remaining subject to the same egregious conditions.

On November 21, 2023, a federal court approved a settlement agreement in which the jail agreed to several major changes, including adopting new policies and procedures and building both an outdoor recreation area and additional inmate housing units. 

Filings      /      Press

Amended Complaint (July 28, 2022)

Answer (Aug. 18, 2022)

Seaborn Larson, Inmates sue Lake County over jail conditions, Independent Record (Mar. 31, 2022)

Shaylee Ragar, 38 inmates sue Lake County, alleging ‘inhumane’ jail conditions, Montana Public Radio (Mar. 31, 2022)

Conner McCauley, Lake Co. jail faces lawsuit over unlawful conditions, NBC Montana (Mar. 31, 2022)

NBC MT Today: Jail lawsuit filed, delegation responds to Biden gas plan, cold fronts (Apr. 1, 2022)

Maggie Dresser, Lake County Inmates Allege Inhumane Jail Conditions, Flathead Beacon (Apr. 2, 2022)

Scot Heisel, Lake County sued over 'dangerous' jail conditions, Clark Fork Valley Press (Apr. 6, 2022)

Megan Mannering, 38 inmates sue over Lake County jail conditions, KPAX Missoula & Western Montana (Apr. 12, 2022)

Maria Anderson, Lake County jail inmates sue over inhumane living conditions, ABC FOX Montana (Apr. 28, 2022)