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Amended Complaint: An Amended Complaint was filed on October 31, 2014.
 
Complaint: A complaint was filed in the US District Court for the District of Montana, Butte Division on March 31, 2014.
 
DRM Files Lawsuit Over Conditions at Montana State Prison: Lack of treatment, solitary confinement and abusive “behavior modification plans” exacerbate mental illness, threaten health and safety of prisoners, prison staff and Montana Communities.

On February 28, 2014, the ACLU of Montana, on behalf of its client Disability Rights Montana, challenged the treatment of prisoners with mental illness at Montana State Prison and the Montana State Hospital. A pattern at Montana State Prison of withholding medication, misdiagnosing prisoners with a long history of mental illness, and punishing them for behavior caused by their mental illness. They are subjected to solitary confinement and “behavior modification plans” that deprive them of clothing, working toilets, bedding and proper food. This serves only to exacerbate their illness and cause needless suffering.

In addition, prisoners sentenced “guilty but mentally ill,” and sent to the Montana State Hospital for treatment are routinely transferred to Montana State Prison because Montana State Hospital staff does not want to treat problem patients or they need beds for other patients. These very ill patients have no real opportunity to challenge these transfers from a hospital setting to the prison where mental health care is virtually nonexistent and they are punished for their mental illness.

On Friday, March 31, 2014, the ACLU of Montana, on behalf of its client Disability Rights Montana, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Butte Division. We filed a lawsuit but would prefer to resolve the issue in a cooperative manner. These are serious constitutional issues, so we are encouraged by the fact that officials at the Department of Corrections have shown a willingness to work with us on solutions. We are in active negotiations with them to make sure that prisoners with mental illness are not subjected to conditions that exacerbate their illness and that they are given the treatment they need to manage their condition and to succeed in prison and the community upon release. Click on the following links for more information:

Click here to download the Media Release.
Click here to download the letter to DPHHS and DOC.
Click here to download response from Mike Batista, Director, Montana DOC.
Click here to download the Complaint. 


 
Press Release - February 28, 2014:

Disability Rights Montana and the ACLU of Montana issued a Press Release on February 28, 2014, challenging the treatment of prisoners at Montana State Prison and the Montana State Hospital and asking both the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Health and Human Services to correct the issues.