Scabies Outbreak Led To Quarantine At Michigan Women's Prison

May 22, 2019 - 11:11 am

YPSILANTI (WWJ/AP) - Officials say a new scabies outbreak at Michigan's only women's prison led to a quarantine at the facility.

The Michigan Department of Corrections confirmed Tuesday that a residential unit at Huron Valley prison was placed under quarantine Friday, so that so inmates could get treatment. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, 83 prisoners in the unit were treated for the parasitic mites that burrow under the skin and lay eggs.

Department spokesman Chris Gautz said the hope "is that we contain this and it doesn't spread any further." 

Reports say the unit returned to normal operations on Saturday, although that detail was not immediately confirmed by WWJ.

This comes after a class action lawsuit filed against the department in April alleged that "inhumane and unconstitutional" prison conditions led to a massive scabies outbreak, along with other inmate ailments which went ignored. 

The lawsuit claimed prisoners suffered "horrible injuries" from severe itching and permanent scarring because officials took more than a year to diagnose and properly treat an earlier scabies outbreak.

The plaintiffs' attorney Jonathan R. Marko said that, while prison is not expected to be an idyllic retreat, society should not be subjecting citizens to what he called "medieval dungeon-like conditions."

"What these women went through was akin to torture: having their bodies ripped apart by scabies and being denied constitutional rights for years. More than two-hundred years ago our founding fathers outlawed cruel and unusual punishment, but its still going on in this prison," Marko said. "No one deserves this type of treatment."

The HVCF is located Washtenaw County's Pittsfield Township, near Ypsilanti.

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