Federal judge ruled Alabama lawsuit on behalf of prisoners a class action
SPLC's Alabama prisons mental health case moves forward
A federal judge ruled yesterday that a lawsuit on behalf of prisoners denied mental health care can head to trial as a class action on behalf of all prisoners, noting that there is evidence of systemic “deliberate indifference” to the mental health needs of the prisoners.
The decision means that mental health care rulings in the case will extend beyond the prisoners named in the lawsuit and benefit the nearly 25,000 people held in a prison system that has had one of the highest mortality rates in the country. The ruling comes as the case is set for trial on Dec. 5.
SPLC demands Alabama protect prisoners after client commits suicide
The SPLC asked a federal judge today to force the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to take immediate action to protect suicidal prisoners – an action that comes after a prisoner represented by the SPLC was found dead in his cell from suicide 10 days after testifying in federal court about the state’s failure to provide adequate mental health care to prisoners.
The emergency motion filed by the SPLC notes that 12 state prisoners have committed suicide this year and says other prisoners are at “substantial risk of profoundly irreparable harm.” The motion, which seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, asks the court to ensure that the state provides a “measure of basic compliance with Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights” that will “protect against immediate threat to human life.”