P&A and SC Department of Corrections agree to end lawsuit and improve treatment of inmates with serious mental illness.
On May 31, P&A and the SC Department of Corrections agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that P&A had brought to improve treatment of inmates with mental illness. The case was filed in 2005 and trial was held in 2012. In 2014 the trial judge announced his decision. It said that mental health care was “inherently flawed and systemically deficient in all major areas,” and that prison officials should address the constitutional deficiencies and provide more humane treatment of prison inmates with serious mental health illnesses. Since 2014 both sides have been negotiating a plan to comply with the judge’s order to improve SCDC’s program. If the agreement is approved by the SC Supreme Court, six areas will be improved including additional mental health staff. Independent national experts will monitor changes.