INDIANAPOLIS - A Department of Justice study labeling the Marion County Jail as the worst in the country for inappropriate sexual contact between staff and inmates has the sheriff's office crying foul.
"Based on what we have found, it's incredibly disappointing. It's really shoddy work product, quite frankly," said Kevin Murray, attorney for the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
In black and white, a lengthy and accusatory Department of Justice report characterized the jail as the worst in the country for sexual misconduct among jail staff.
"We've never had any suggestion of staff sexual misconduct in this area at all," Murray said.
According to sheriff's officials, Department of Justice researchers gave touchscreen computers to 22 inmates in 2011 to conduct self-interviews, and only two male inmates suggested they were aware of sexual misconduct, though they never made formal complaints.
"These people are incarcerated for a reason," Murray said. "And to take that information and not have it tied to a specific date, time, place or whatever, I mean, that's just bad social science."
In 2007, the Marion County Jail emerged from 35 years of federal oversight because of inmate overcrowding issues, and in 2009, Marion County became the only jail in Indiana to attain national accreditation standards.
That the DOJ used such a small sample of inmates to paint the jail as the worst in America for sexual misconduct has officials here angry.
"What really is so offensive is the idea that the U.S. Attorney who has jurisdiction over this, and the U.S. Marshal who has inmates here, they have no idea where this came from," Murray said. "No information on this. No information whatsoever. And the Department of Justice never conferred with us in any shape or form."
The sheriff's department says it has no grievances on file alleging sexual misconduct on the part of staff members, and in 10 years, no one has filed suit alleging the same complaint.
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