Resource: Disability Law Center, Inc. v. Massachusetts Department of Correction, et al

By: United States Courts

April 12, 2012

United States Courts

On March 8, 2007, plaintiff Disability Law Center, Inc. filed a complaint for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against defendants Massachusetts Department of Correction and various corrections officials in their official capacities. The complaint alleged that defendants violated the Constitution and federal laws by placing prisoners with mental illnesses in segregated confinement for sustained periods of time. Specifically, the complaint alleged that between November 2004 and March 2007, at least eleven prisoners had committed suicide while being held in segregated confinement. On December 12, 2011, the parties filed a joint motion to approve a settlement agreement reached by the parties. The agreement included provisions requiring the Department of Corrections to take steps to prevent the confinement of prisoners with serious mental illnesses in segregated confinement and to create alternatives to segregated confinement. The parties also reported that the Department of Corrections efforts to implement these initiatives had already resulted in decreases in self-injurious behavior. The court held a hearing on the motion on February 2, 2012. On February 6, 2012, the court ordered supplement briefing regarding whether the Prison Litigation Reform Act permitted the court to approve the settlement agreement. The court held another hearing on March 9, 2012. On April 12, 2012, the court issued an order, approving the settlement agreement and staying further litigation, and the case was administratively closed.