Attorney reacts to jail report, plans to seek federal civil rights class action
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Another attorney is joining forces with attorneys Tim Lupardus and Zach Whitten to address a growing number of complaints regarding the inhumane treatment of inmates in Southern Regional Jail (SRJ).
Steve New of New, Taylor, & Associates, said he will be joining the attorneys to tackle some of the cases. New previously settled cases involving a Hepatitis outbreak at the Raleigh Heart Clinic in Beckley, and more recently, settled cases involving the sexual abuse of patients at the Beckley VA Medical Center.
He also offered his reaction to the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation into the living conditions of inmates at SRJ on Thursday.
“It was clear upon reading the Department of Homeland Security report that it was an inside job to counter the negative publicity and good journalism that you and others have been doing. Instead of trying to arrive at the truth, it was done quickly and was clearly an outcome-driven investigation,” said New in an interview with WVVA News.
New plans to work with the attorneys to separate out some of the cases, handling the allegations regarding death and medical neglect on an individual bases. Meanwhile, when it comes to the living conditions within the regional jail system as a whole, he said he plans to seek a federal civil rights class action suit.
“We’re getting calls from all around the state, Zach Whitten, Tim Lupardus, and others, and what that tells me is this is systemic within the regional jail system authority. There truly needs to be an outside, independent investigation, not subject to political pressure or anything else to arrive at the truth wherever that may leave the state of West Virginia.
Through legal action, he hopes to address not only the overcrowding within the regional jail system, but its funding.
“It’s still someone’s child, someone’s daughter, someone’s nephew, someone’s grandchild. They matter to someone. They may not matter to someone who is a bureaucrat in West Virginia state government. But that matter to someone,” he said.
“The good thing is litigation is a truth finding function,” he added.
To read the Dept of Homeland Security’s report, visit SKM_C45822041216400 (wv.gov)
Copyright 2022 WVVA. All rights reserved.