On February 3, 2005, inmates confined to the Secured Housing Unit ("SHU") at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU National Prison ...
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On February 3, 2005, inmates confined to the Secured Housing Unit ("SHU") at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU National Prison Project and the ACLU of Indiana, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the confinement of certain mentally ill prisoners there was unconstitutional.
On March 10, 2005, the District Court (Judge Larry J. McKinney) certified the case as a class action. The class was defined as all prisoners currently, and in the future, confined within the Secured Housing Unit at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility who were mentally ill.
Following two years of litigation and several court ordered settlement conferences, the parties reached a tentative settlement of the case in the form of a private settlement agreement. The agreement provided that it was inappropriate for the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to place seriously mentally ill prisoners into the SHU or into any correctional setting that features isolation and solitary confinement and the IDOC agreed to abandon that practice. The Agreement further called for the IDOC to provide appropriate mental health treatment for seriously mentally ill prisoners, in a setting and settings other than the SHU. Monitoring of IDOC's implementation of the agreement provision was set for a two year period.
The parties submitted the agreement to Judge McKinney for approval. Class notices were sent and the matter was set for an approval hearing on March 30, 2007 before Judge McKinney. On November 26, 2007, Judge McKinney approved the settlement and ordered the case stayed for two years, thereafter to be dismissed without prejudice.
On October 7, 2008, a mentally ill prisoner filed pro se a motion to hold the defendants in contempt of court for violating the settlement agreement and award of punitive damages for continuing to confine him in the SHU and then moving him to a facility that was similar to the SHU.
On December 31, 2009, Judge McKinney closed and dismissed the case with prejudice pursuant to the terms in the settlement agreement.Kristen Sagar - 10/02/2008
Jessica Kincaid - 07/21/2014