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Preliminary Deal Reached On Treatment Of Mentally Ill Inmates

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Inmates on the yard of Pelican Bay State Prison

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California prison officials have reached a preliminary agreement in a lawsuit related to the treatment of mentally ill inmates. 

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it’s reached a tentative agreement with attorneys for mentally ill inmates regarding the use of force and segregated housing. The final agreement is expected to be filed in federal court on Friday. 

Last April the court found CDCR’s polices related to the use of force and segregated housing for mentally ill inmates violated the Eight Amendment. CDCR was ordered to revise those policies. Attorneys for the inmates argued the state uses excessive amounts of pepper spray and keeps mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement for excessive periods of time. The state received a 14-day extension on two of the seven provisions in the ruling.

Nearly 30 percent of California inmates are classified as mentally ill. There are currently more than 135,000 inmates in the overall prison population. 

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