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County has paid heavily since 2008 to settle Valley Street Jail lawsuits
Inmate Luis Aviles Rivera of Manchester peeks out from from under his cell door at Valley Street Jail in Manchester in this August photo. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Settlements by county
|A comparison of lawsuit settlements involving corrections facilities and corrections employees in eight New Hampshire counties since 2003. The list is provided by Primex, a risk pool that insures New Hampshire counties. The data does not correlate exactly with settlement information provided by Hillsborough County. For example, back pay for a corrections officer and legal fees in her case are not included in Primex's numbers. Sullivan County had no settlements during the time period. Belknap County, which joined Primex in 2009, had no settlements.|
MANCHESTER - Inmates and an employee at the Valley Street Jail have received close to $1 million over the last six years to quietly settle claims involving allegations of beatings, improper medical care and sexual discrimination.
The largest single settlement involves a $450,000 payment to the parents of Kevin McEvoy, a heroin addict who died of withdrawal-related dehydration in 2008, a time when the jail distributed home remedies of Tylenol, Maalox and Kaopectate for heroin withdrawal.
Several people who have settled, including Sanabria and McEvoy's parents, who live in Massachusetts, would not be interviewed for this article, worried about what effect an interview would have on their settlements.
Jail Superintendent David Dionne said the settlement decisions are made by the county's insurance provider, Primex, not him.
"There are county decisions that have to be made (to settle). I understand that," he said.
Dionne said the jail follows the standards required by the American Correctional Association; the county just doesn't seek accreditation.
All involved inmates awaiting trial on felony-level sexual assault charges involving children; the inmates claimed assault by guards. Dionne said the jail has taken several steps in the last 10 years to improve security and reduce the potential for lawsuits:
The jail installed the cameras after female inmates filed lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by corrections officers, he said.
-- Two or three years ago, the jail changed its procedures for the way that corrections officers enter an inmate's cell.
Several lawsuits claim beatings took place inside the cell, beyond the view of cameras. Now the inmate kneels at the front of the cell when a search takes place.
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