A huge class-action federal lawsuit has been filed against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections accusing the state’s solitary confinement conditions of being inhumane, and of exacerbating inmate mental illness.
About one-third of the 2,400 inmates kept in restricted custody across the state suffer from serious mental-health problems, according to the suit. They spend 23 hours a day in small, windowless cells, and have little contact with other human beings.
The suit, which is being filed by Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, claims many prisoners are sent to solitary for “head-banging, hallucinations and other psychotic behaviors” rather than being adequately treated. For more on the legality of solitary confinement, read this piece I wrote in 2011. [AP]