The plaintiff is a prisoner with mental illness incarcerated at a "super max" facility of the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. On May 3, 2010, he filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, against the Colorado Department of Corrections. He alleged ...
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The plaintiff is a prisoner with mental illness incarcerated at a "super max" facility of the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. On May 3, 2010, he filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, against the Colorado Department of Corrections. He alleged violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. The prisoner, filing pro se, alleged that defendants denied him numerous privileges afforded to other prisoners due his disability by placing him in segregation for over a decade and not allowing him to experience daylight, fresh air, or outdoor exercise. Further, the prisoner alleged that defendants denied him appropriate treatment for serious mental health issues. In the alternative, the prisoner alleged that defendants punished him for his actual or perceived disability-related behavior without reasonable accommodations. He alleged that the prison made him ineligible for early release credits due to an arbitrary demerit system that punishes his improperly treated mental illness without notice of what behaviors he was charged with, and without sufficient procedures for review.
On May 25, 2010, defendants moved to dismiss the case, and the district court (Daniel, J.) denied the motion. On March 26, 2012 Judge Brooke Jackson denied summary judgment on the merits, allowing the case to proceed to bench trial. The trial occurred between April 30 and May 8, 2012. On August 24, 2012, Judge Jackson released his final order and judgment. In this order, the judge wrote that "denial of any opportunity to be outdoors and to engage in some form of outdoor exercise for a period of 12 years is a serious deprivation of a human need" and is "a paradigm of inhumane treatment." Because the court found a violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, and ordered that the CDOC must develop and present a plan that ensures plaintiff has access for at least one hour, at least three times per week, to outdoor exercise. The court also ordered that defendants assign a CDOC psychiatrist to evaluate the plaintiff's mental health treatment needs, and wrote in his opinion that the formulary list not be a bar to the plaintiff's receiving whatever medication the psychiatrist deems appropriate. Because the disciplinary system had changed by trial, the court ruled in favor of the defendants to give the new policy a chance. However, the judge wrote in his opinion that if the new system proves to be "form over substance, [the plaintiff] knows where to find me." The court found that the plaintiff largely prevailed, and therefore awarded costs and attorney's fees to the plaintiff.
As of October 8, 2012, no notice of appeal appears in the docket sheet. Emily Goldman - 10/12/2012