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Case Name Smith v. Meachum PC-CT-0008
Docket / Court 87-221 ( D. Conn. )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
This case was about the treatment and housing of prisoners with HIV infection at the Connecticut Correctional Institute at Somers (""CCI-Somers""). The initial action was filed on March 6, 1987 and amended twice in 1988. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel (Allan Taylor and Deborah Chang ... read more >
This case was about the treatment and housing of prisoners with HIV infection at the Connecticut Correctional Institute at Somers (""CCI-Somers""). The initial action was filed on March 6, 1987 and amended twice in 1988. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel (Allan Taylor and Deborah Chang of the firm Day, Berry & Howard). The action was certified as a class action on November 7, 1988 by Order of United States District Judge Jose A. Cabranes.

There is no docket available, and the only document available is the Consent Judgment, dated August 8, 1989. The Consent Judgment is missing pages 14-22.

The Consent Judgment was intended to resolve disputes between the plaintiffs, individually and those similarly situated as present and future inmates who test positive for HIV and are confined on Hospital III at CCI-Somers, and the defendants, all of whom were officials and employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction. Hospital III is the third floor of the hospital unit at CCI-Somers, and is designated as the location for treatment and housing of in-patients for any period of time.

The Consent Judgment ordered that inmates not be segregated from the general population solely due to being HIV seropositive or the status of their HIV infection, but could be segregated when required by individual security or medical needs. It also ordered that patients housed on Hospital III for chronic care be provided recreation opportunities, access to the general and law library, opportunity to participate in institutional programs, visitation hours, and laundry and cleaning services.

The Consent Judgment also established standards aimed at improving medical care, including a system whereby medical records would be reviewed for adequacy of care. It also provided for mental health assessments of each HIV-infected inpatient upon admission to Hospital III, and referrals to the mental health unit where necessary.

An independent Monitoring Panel was established for the purpose of determining compliance with the Consent Judgment. The Panel was to consist of persons with appropriate knowledge and expertise in medical health care for HIV-infected inpatients, and was to consist of a member selected by the plaintiffs, a member selected by the defendants, and a neutral party selected by these members. The Panel was to reports its findings to both plaintiffs' and defendants' counsel, but the Court retained enforcement authority upon appropriate motion. The Monitoring Panel was to inspect Hospital III and the medical records of HIV-infected patients every six months, as well as conduct interviews and discussions with in-patients with their express consent.

The Consent Judgment was to remain in effect for four years, and any part of it could be extended upon a showing of good cause by the plaintiffs. If the panel determined that monitoring was no longer necessary because of the Department's compliance for two years, the monitoring could be discontinued or ordered at less frequent intervals.

There is no indication of the results of monitoring or whether the case was closed.

Theresa Spaulding - 05/29/2005

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Type of Facility
Causes of Action
Defendant(s) Connecticut Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description prisoners with HIV at the Connecticut Correctional Institute who at any time since March 11, 1987 were subject to the care of the Commissioner of the CDOC.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1989 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

87-221 (D. Conn.) 10/07/2005
PC-CT-0008-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Consent Judgment 08/08/1989 (D. Conn.)
PC-CT-0008-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges Cabranes, Jose Alberto (Second Circuit, D. Conn., FISCR)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chang, Deborah S. (Connecticut)
Taylor, Allan B. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0008-0001 | PC-CT-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lanoue, Michael J. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0008-0001 | PC-CT-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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