Judge Rules California Violated Law Over Isolation of Disabled Inmates
On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that California violated the rights of inmates with disabilities by placing them in solitary confinement because prisons lacked rooms with certain accommodations, such as wheelchair accessibility, AP/KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Background of Case
In 2012, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it would remove inmates with disabilities from segregation cells.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken found that 211 inmates with disabilities had been kept in such cells between July 2013 and July 2014 (Thompson, "KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 2/3).
According to the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal," the inmates spent from one day to one month in the isolated cells. They also were subjected to strip searches and shackling.
A CDCR administrator said the housing assignments were temporary, while lawyers for the department in court argued that the matter should be resolved internally through state policy changes (St. John, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 2/3).
The department said that the majority of improper housing occurred at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. However, inmates' lawyers said the isolation occurred at 10 other facilities ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 2/3).
Details of Ruling
In her ruling, Wilken said that the state violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as previous court orders, by isolating inmates with disabilities in solitary holding cells ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 2/3).
Wilken gave CDCR 30 days to decide how it would comply with her ruling. The department said it is reviewing the decision ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 2/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.