An investigation by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts found that the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MDOC) failed to provide adequate supervision and mental health care to prisoners in mental health crisis. MDOC houses prisoners in mental health crisis in restrictive housing conditions. As a result of these failures and conditions, prisoners in mental health crisis have engaged in self-harm and have died or seriously injured themselves while on mental health watch. The DOJ alleged that conditions at MDOC facilities violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
The Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts initiated the investigation in October 2018 under CIPRA, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980. CIPRA is a United States federal law intended to protect the rights of people in state or local correctional facilities, nursing homes, mental health facilities and institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. CIPRA authorizes the department to take action to address a pattern or practice of deprivation of constitutional rights of individuals confined to state or local government-run correctional facilities. The DOJ closed its investigation of geriatric and palliative medical care and restrictive housing other than the restrictive housing on mental health watch. The investigation was conducted by attorneys with the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
This was reported by The United States Department of Justice on November 17, 2020.
Contact information: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001; 202-514-2000; Website: https://www.justice.gov/
Contact information: Massachusetts Department of Correction, 50 Maple St, Milford, MA 01757; 508-422-3300; Website: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-correction