Prison Health Trial Begins Today

Dec 5, 2016

Testimony is set to begin today in a massive lawsuit alleging inmates in Alabama’s prisons aren’t receiving the minimum level of health care guaranteed by the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is set to begin hearing the non-jury, class-action lawsuit later today. It was originally filed by a group of inmates against the Alabama Department of Corrections back in 2014.

Maria Morris is the lead attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of several groups representing inmates in the case. She says mentally ill inmates in Alabama’s prisons only receive group counseling once or twice a month, and rarely if ever get individual attention.

“They’re just sitting in a cell, and they’re not getting any mental health treatment, or minimal mental health treatment, and they’re just in those cells for months or years. And that’s not going to make them any healthier.”

But the Alabama Department of Corrections contends the care provided in state prisons is adequate. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own investigation into conditions in Alabama's prisons.