Criminal Justice

Judge orders inmates with history of masturbation or other sexual misconduct to wear cuffs in court

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Detainees in Cook County, Illinois, who have a history of masturbation, indecent exposure or other sexual misconduct will have to wear handcuffs during courthouse visits, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly of Chicago issued preliminary injunctions on Tuesday, report the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

He issued the injunction to lawsuits by assistant public defenders and correctional officers who allege their exposure to masturbating inmates constitutes a hostile work environment. The injunction in the public defender litigation is here.

Kennelly also said the detainees with a reported masturbation history will have to wear special jumpsuits in jail and in court that are “designed to thwart indecent exposure and masturbation.” And he ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s office to assign a staff member to courthouse lockup areas when detainees are present.

The handcuffs and jumpsuits had been tried previously, according to the lawsuit by assistant public defenders. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart had required the handcuffing of detainees in courthouse lockups, but the practice was discontinued after Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli objected. Dart had also required the detainees to wear the special jumpsuits, but the practice was discontinued after detainees burned them using microwave ovens, the suit alleged.

Dart had previously assigned deputies to the courtroom lockups, but he ended that practice because of budget reasons. He started assigning civilian employees before the public defender lawsuit. Kennelly’s order requires assignment of a “deputized sworn staff member or exempt staff member” to the lockups when detainees are present.

Dart and Campanelli agreed to Kennelly’s injunction. The order remains in effect while the lawsuits are pending.

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