9 January 2014

Judge: Prisons Mistreat Mentally Ill


January 09, 2014

Read the full article in the Greenville News.

COLUMBIA — The state’s prison system has failed its inmates who have serious mental health illness, according to a scathing, 45-page ruling by a state judge who detailed cases in which inmates were placed in solitary for years, put naked into restraining chairs in painful positions and left naked and in filth in cold, empty cells.

Circuit Judge Michael Baxley ruled Wednesday that the South Carolina Department of Corrections had violated the constitutional rights of prisoners with serious mental illness.

The agency late Wednesday issued a three-sentence statement saying it would appeal Baxley’s decision.

“Mental health is not just a corrections’ problem, it’s a national problem that all sectors of society are working to address,” the agency said in its statement.

The agency didn’t address any of the specific allegations.

Baxley meticulously detailed a host of allegations about the treatment of the prison system’s mentally ill in his ruling, including the transfer of Jerome Laudman into a solitary cell in a maximum security prison in February 2008.

Read the full article in the Greenville News.

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