Federal judge issues order regarding mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement

Federal judge issues order regarding mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement
Source: Raycom images

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has denied the request for a temporary restraining order against the segregation unit at Bibb Correctional Facility.

Thompson has given the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) until Thursday at noon to respond.

Testimony continues on Monday in Montgomery Federal Court. Several Alabama prison officials are expected to testify, including the warden of Holman Prison in Atmore. Also, several inmates with mental illness are expected to take the stand.

ORIGINAL: A federal judge presiding in a lawsuit involving mental health treatment in Alabama prisons is giving officials until Friday to move some mentally ill inmates.

Thompson issued the order on Thursday following a hearing in which inmate attorneys argued that prisoners with serious mental illness are being held too long in solitary confinement.

The hearing was the result of a lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates, in which the court issued a 2017 ruling that declared the mental health treatment in Alabama prisons "horrendously inadequate."

An ADOC spokesperson sent WBRC a statement, which said the prison system agreed to remove certain categories of mentally ill inmates from segregation, as long as the removal did not threaten the safety and security of the prison. ADOC presented the proposal to the court, and the spokesperson said the agency will enact portions of it, pending the court's approval.

The statement also said ADOC had already moved some of the inmates out of segregation before the court issued the order, and if the ADOC believes an inmate should remain in segregation, it will explain the reasons why to the court.

"The ADOC maintains that, in certain circumstances, it is necessary to house mentally ill inmates in a restrictive housing setting, particularly when an inmate threatens the safety or security of other inmates and correctional staff," the ADOC spokesperson said.

Below is the court order:

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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