Destiny Hoffman and Jason O'Connor (Source: Clark County Jail)
Ashleigh Hendricks Santiago
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – More people are coming forward to say they were mistreated while in drug court in Clark County. One of these inmates served five months for a six day sentence.
Now two women said they hope filing a lawsuit will help put a stop to any sort of misconduct happening inside the drug court.
Ashleigh Hendricks Santiago and Amy Bennett aren't afraid to admit they have struggled with the use of prescription pain killers, a problem that eventually landed them behind bars in Clark County.
"I understand I did wrong, but did I deserve to sit that long? Absolutely not," said Santiago.
At the time, they hoped drug court would help get their lives back on track. "I was taken into custody on May 16, 2013 was supposed to be released on May 22, 2013 at 5 p.m.," said Santiago. "I did not get released until October 25, 2013," said Santiago.
Both women along with Destiny Hoffman hired Louisville attorney Michael Augustus to look into their cases.
"All three clients were involved in being in jail for an extended period of time without any answer as to why they were there," said Augustus.
There's already been some response in Clark County. Drug treatment program director Susan Knoebel was fired on Tuesday just days after the news surfaced that Hoffman spent five months in jail on a two day sentence.
Then another name was added to the list. Jason O'Connor was ordered to spend 30 days, but was kept in there for 215.
Augustus said based on what he knows there could be at least a dozen more inmates whose constitutional rights were violated. It's shame he said because drug court is designed to a good program.
"The problem specifically in this case was enacting those policies and just the day to day management of it where these individuals were kind of run rough shot over and treated not like a citizen," said Augustus.
Bennett said she was put in handcuffs in her home and taken into custody by Knoebel and another employee, both do not have policing powers. Now an Indiana State Police investigation is underway. The women hope this will not happen anymore to anyone else.
"I want to see it run right," said Bennett. "I mean you can't forget about people sitting in jail, you know. You can't arrest people when you don't have arresting powers. Somebody is not doing their job."
Both women are now in a halfway house and say they are doing well with their recovery.
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