The inmates hung themselves during a particularly deadly time at the jail – between 2002 and 2003 – when a total of seven inmates took their own lives. Sheriff John McGinness says the decision to settle does not mean jail staff was negligent – as charged in the lawsuit.
"That’s not the case at all. But often times you have to look at, among other factors, what it would cost to successfully defend litigation."
But Stewart Katz – the attorney for the families – says jail staff made a lot of mistakes.
"If they really believe that this settlement was only for business reasons that’s unfortunate."
He blames the spike in suicides on understaffing and poor training – though he says there have been recent improvements such as suicide prevention training for officers.
"I think they’re better now than they were at the time of these incidents. But I would certainly hope that the lesson they learned is that there’s a consequence to having deficient practices."