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Government agency accused of exposing inmates to asbestos

When criminals are punished with a prison sentence, most people are relieved because they believe that justice has been served. Though they know that the prison sentence may be harsh, most people feel it is a deserved punishment for breaking the law.

But despite this fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person here in Illinois, or in the country for that matter, that would be okay with exposing a prisoner to asbestos during a sentence. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened in another state, and now one government agency is paying for this mistake.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, inmates in a work program were exposed to asbestos last year while doing a job for the Idaho Transportation Department. The EPA claims that the transportation department relied on the results of a 25-year-old test to determine if the building was free of asbestos. It wasn’t until after inmates had removed flooring from the building, “without proper training or equipment,” that a more recent test indicated that the flooring did contain asbestos.

Because of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, the transportation department has paid roughly $56,000 to settle the allegations against it. It’s unknown however if any of this will be given to the inmates who were exposed.

As many of you here in Illinois may already know, asbestos has been linked to several forms of cancer as well as other health problems. Because of medical costs and the negligence that is usually associated with asbestos exposure, some people decide to take legal action and seek compensation for potential injury.

But because of the unique circumstances surrounding the exposure in this case, the inmates could be left wondering if they too have the same right to compensation. If it’s a concern you too may have, then speaking with a knowledgeable attorney can be beneficial. Not only can they answer your questions about asbestos exposure but they can even help you prepare your case if you so wish to make a personal injury claim later on.

Source: KTVB News, “Idaho agency pays $56,000 for asbestos complaint,” Rebecca Boone, July 9, 2014

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