Judge Rules for Better Conditions for Inmates with Serious Mental Health Issues.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Baxley ruled on January 8, 2014, that the S.C. Department of Corrections mental health program is “inherently flawed and systemically deficient in all major areas,” and prison officials should address the constitutional deficiencies and provide more humane treatment of prison inmates with serious mental health illnesses. Order Granting Judgment in Favor of Plaintiffs
In June 2005, three individuals in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of more than 2,500 inmates with serious mental illness. The plaintiffs alleged that the agency failed to provide services to such an extent that it violates their constitutional rights to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment.
Class action lawsuit against SC Department of Corrections alleged failure to provide services to inmates with serious mental illness is cruel and unusual punishment. Trial began February 6, 2012, and ended March 23, 2012.
On January 12, 2015, after months of successful mediation, the parties reached a preliminary agreement on a plan that establishes benchmarks for settling the case. The agreement anticipates the implementation and executive and legislative funding of a 3-year budget, staffing and facilities plan.
The parties are working together to complete revisions of the Department of Corrections’ operational and mental health policies and procedures and program descriptions.
For more information about the case go to: www.mentalhealth4inmates.org.