Indiana News

Judge Rules on DOC's Treatment of Mentally Ill Inmates

1/2/2013

ACLU Legal Director Ken Falk says the Indiana Department of Corrections must come up with new ways to treat some mentally ill patients. 

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This after a federal judge ruled that the DOC violated the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusal punishment. The ACLU argued that its clients in the New Castle Correctional Facility Psychiatric Unit were harmed after being segregated and held in units where they didn't receive proper treatment. Falk says prisoners either committed suicide or experienced paranoia, delusions or self-harm. 

The decision by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt follows a bench trial during the summer of 2011.  Falk says the judge is convening a meeting involving all parties in the case.  They'll discuss remedies given violations of the eighth amendment.  Further court proceedings into the matter are expected. 

Falk says mentally ill prisoners have special needs that the Constitution demands receive treatment.  He says other states have intensive treatment programs for the seriously mentally ill inmates.  He adds that at one time Indiana had such programs, but they were discontinued.  

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