Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox will prosecute cases of alleged sexual abuse of female state prison inmates by guards only under special circumstances, the Detroit News reports. A three-day series in the News reported that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said her office has neither the manpower nor resources to continue taking on those cases. Since November, she has referred prison abuse allegations to the attorney general. This presented a potential conflict of interest for the attorney general, who is also defending a lawsuit brought by 440 inmates who allege abuse by prison staff.
“Absent extraordinary circumstances, such as a conflict of interest by a local prosecutor, the attorney general has never prosecuted these cases and does not now,” Cox said. Worthy replied: “These are state cases investigated by the state police and they should be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office and not the local prosecutor. If someone wants to give us the resources, I would be happy to do it.” State Corrections Director Patricia Caruso contended that the News used dated information and overstated any lingering problems. Conceding that the number of abuse complaints has risen recently, she maintained that is because inmates are encouraged to report under a zero-tolerance system intended to eliminate sexual abuse.