Prisons Improve Care for Mentally ill

Montgomery, AL – A new report suggests Alabama has improved its treatment of mentally ill prisoners during the last three years. The group Human Rights Watch says such prisoners experienced substandard living conditions, isolation, physical abuse and poor medical care as recently as 2000. But the group says a series of lawsuits helped improve their situation. One lawsuit, which was settled in 2000, led to a 300 percent increase in mental health staffing, two new mental health units and the addition of some major services. But there are some questions about the report. State Department of Corrections spokesperson Brian Corbett says the findings of abuse and neglect were based on outdated material.