The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California has awarded Bird Marella with the 2021 Humanitarian Award, in recognition of its pro bono partnership on two COVID-19 class action lawsuits against the administrators at Terminal Island and Lompoc federal prisons.
Filed on behalf of several prisoners, the lawsuits detailed how insufficient measures and inhumane treatment in both facilities led to thousands of infections and several deaths, violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
The pro bono team honorees below are commended for their extraordinary efforts and achievements in the Wilson v. Ponce and Torres v. Milusnic cases. At the time of filing, both prisons were overcrowded at 130% capacity or more. Since the lawsuits, both prisons are now at under 100% capacity, and over 340 prisoners have been transferred to home confinement, granted compassionate release, or transferred to residential reentry centers.
Sharon K. Grisham
Alison J. Hyon
Kiana E. Lee
Click here to see the award featured in the April 2021 edition of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine.