Retaliation for Reporting Abuse and Neglect

June 01, 2018

Sharee Miller, a prisoner at Huron Valley Women’s Prison, was fired from her job at the prison for seeking help for mentally ill women prisoners who were being abused and neglected by the guards. 

Ms. Miller’s job at the prison was to keep watch over prisoners who were at risk of suicide or self-harm.  On multiple occasions, she saw guards abuse mentally ill women by leaving them hogtied and naked for hours, depriving them of water, and refusing to advise medical authorities even when a prisoner was foaming at the mouth.  Ms. Miller’s internal complaints within the prison were ignored, so she ultimately alerted outside organizations such as the Department of Justice and advocacy groups.  When she did so, she was punished for violating “confidentiality” rules. 

In 2015, the ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit to prevent the prison from punishing prisoners who report abuse and neglect.  In March 2017, Judge Sean Cox denied the state’s motion to dismiss, allowing the case to proceed to discovery.  In June 2018, the state filed a motion for summary judgment. 

(Miller v. Stewart; ACLU Attorneys Dan Korobkin and Michael J. Steinberg; Cooperating Attorneys Daniel Quick, Jerome Crawford, Chelsea Smialek, Kathleen Cieslik, Emily Turbiak, and Alma Sobo of Dickinson Wright.)

Read our Fall 2018 Legal Docket.