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Suit: Mental health a problem at Supermax

Nov. 26, 2012 at 3:49 PM   |   Comments

FLORENCE, Colo., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Federal officials said they're working to improve mental health issues at the nation's most secure prison in Colorado after prisoners filed suit.

Administrators moved to have the lawsuit dealing with mental health care for inmates at the super-maximum security prison in Florence, saying any oversights were not intentional. Lawyers for several inmates at the Supermax said their clients were diagnosed with mental illnesses, then transferred to the facility in violation of federal rules. Once there, they were denied treatment, including medication, The Denver Post reported Monday.

The lawsuit alleges six inmates have committed suicide at the facility and numerous others have attempted it. The prison previously had just two mental health workers for the 490 inmates when prison officials testified before Congress in June though they pledged to hire more.

The lawsuit names high-level officials with the Bureau of Prisons who would have no idea about operational procedures at one of the many federal prisons and should be dismissed, government lawyers said in a brief.

"If this complaint ... were found insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss," the attorney's reply brief states, "then the courthouse door will be as impenetrable to prison inmates as the cell doors that secure them."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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