This was a case brought by the National Prison Project of the ACLU and private counsel (Donald Holtman of the firm Connolly, Holtman and Losee) against officials and employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction on January 31, 1975. Plaintiffs Robert Graves, Donald Oberdorf, and Melvin ...
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This was a case brought by the National Prison Project of the ACLU and private counsel (Donald Holtman of the firm Connolly, Holtman and Losee) against officials and employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction on January 31, 1975. Plaintiffs Robert Graves, Donald Oberdorf, and Melvin Taylor were three inmates at the Connecticut Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut. Plaintiffs alleged that they were denied, or were warned that they would be denied, parole for failing to participate in an experimental behavior modification program for prisoners convicted of risk of injury to children. The program used as its primary techniques aversive faradic conditioning (electric shock), covert sensitization (hypnotism), and group therapy. Plaintiffs alleged that there was no evidence that this experimental program was successful in achieving its goals, that it was cruel and unusual punishment, and that being forced to choose between participating in the program or being denied parole violated their constitutional rights. They requested injunctive relief and monetary damages. Plaintiffs were granted leave to proceed in the action without being required to pay fees or costs.
There is no available docket for the case. The documents indicate that an answer was filed by the defendants denying the allegations. It appears that a Stipulation of Dismissal without prejudice was filed, but the document on record is not dated and is signed only by plaintiffs' counsel. The document stipulated that the Somers prison had discontinued faradic aversive conditioning and covert sensitization, and did not intend to reinstate the use of faradic aversive conditioning. The document also stipulated that the Department of Corrections would notify the Court and all counsel of record if in the future any program utilizing faradic aversive conditioning or covert sensitization was considered. All counsel of record would be given 60 days within which to file comments with the Department, but the Commissioner of Correction would retain his duty to approve or disapprove the initiation of new programs. According to the Stipulation of Dismissal, the plaintiffs were scheduled for a new parole hearing before an impartial parole board panel. The new panel would not be allowed to consider the plaintiffs' participation or non-participation in the no longer existing behavior modification program.
There is no indication of whether the case was ever closed or dismissed.Theresa Spaulding - 05/29/2005