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ACLU: Oral Arguments to Be Delivered Friday in Lawsuit Against Michigan Department of Corrections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2008
11:45 AM

CONTACT: ACLU
Will Matthews, (212) 549-2582 or 2666;
media@aclu.org

 
Oral Arguments to Be Delivered Friday in Lawsuit Against Michigan Department of Corrections
ACLU Says Inadequate Health Care Puts Prisoners Lives at Risk
 
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan - August 7 - Two years after a 21-year-old man died in a Michigan prison because of a lack of medical and mental health care, the American Civil Liberties Union will deliver final arguments Friday in a lawsuit that seeks to force Michigan Department of Corrections officials to provide necessary mental health care services to prisoners.

The ACLU is seeking a court order from Judge Robert J. Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan that would require Michigan correctional officials to cure the ongoing failures to identify and treat serious mental illnesses among the prisoner population, the fragmented and dysfunctional ways that mental health care services are organized and the inadequate supervision provided to poorly qualified staff.

Friday’s arguments will be the latest chapter in the highly publicized case Hadix v. Caruso and come almost exactly two years after the August 6, 2006 death of Timothy Souders. Souders, who had a long history of mental illness, including active mental psychosis, died from a lack of medical and mental health care at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson after being left unattended for four days in full, four-point restraints. The case was featured by “60 Minutes” in February 2007.

Elizabeth Alexander, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project, will deliver the oral arguments. Patricia Streeter, a civil rights lawyer from Ann Arbor, and Sandra Girard of Prison Legal Services of Michigan also represent the prisoners in the case.

WHO: Elizabeth Alexander, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project

WHAT: Oral arguments before U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker during which an injunction will be sought mandating that Michigan Department of Corrections officials uphold their constitutional responsibility to provide adequate mental health care to inmates.

WHEN: Friday, August 8, 2008, 10 a.m. ET

WHERE: United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
110 Michigan Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI

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