DC Inmates Lack of Mental Health Care
Four inmates housed at the infamous federal maximum security prison (“ADX”) in Florence, Colorado, have filed suit claiming ADX violated their Constitutional rights by disregarding the medical needs of mentally ill prisoners. The lawsuit seeks to enforce minimum standards of inmate healthcare under the Eighth Amendment.
ADX generally houses inmates that are considered among the most violent in the country, including convicted terrorists Richard Reid and Ramzi Yousef, Oklahoma City bombing accomplice, Terry Nichols, and the Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski, among others. ADX does not officially accept inmates who “are mentally ill and unable to be housed in this situation.”
The lawsuit alleges that ADX fails to properly screen new inmates for mental illness, ignores or denies requests for treatment, improperly distributes medications to those diagnosed as mentally ill, and maintains an ineffective internal appeals system for prisoners who claim the prison denied their constitutional rights to adequate medical care. The lawsuit further alleges that prison officials interfered with correspondence between inmates and their attorneys and threatened harm or retaliation against inmates who cooperated in the lawsuit.
The United States Constitution requires that prison officials provide adequate healthcare to inmates. At a minimum, such care usually includes screening inmates for mental illness and properly administering medication for prisoners considered mentally ill. Under the applicable legal standards, ADX and prison officials face liability for violation of the prisoners’ rights to medical care if they exhibited “deliberate indifference” to the prisoners’ medical needs.
If you or someone you know has been denied proper care in prison and suffered harm as a result, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.