Inmates sue prison system over solitary confinement policies


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts inmates have filed a class action lawsuit challenging the state prison system’s solitary confinement policies.

The three MCI-Cedar Junction inmates in Walpole — Emmitt Perry, Carlos Bastos and Soksoursdey Roeung — said in a complaint filed in state court last Friday that they were subjected to a combined 23 years of solitary confinement in the disciplinary unit of the prison.

They argue that the state corrections department violates Massachusetts law by keeping them and other prisoners in the disciplinary unit for up to 10 years.

Inmates also complain of receiving inadequate meals, having restricted access to the prison canteen, phone calls and visits, and residing in ‘parking lot-sized’ cells for 23 hours a day. most of the week.

Under a 2018 law, prisoners in Massachusetts are limited to six-month stints in solitary confinement for disciplinary purposes. Detainees may only be held in the unit for longer than six months if it is determined that they pose an unacceptable security risk.

The Boston College Law School Civil Rights Clinic and the law firm Holland & Knight filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on behalf of the detainees.

A spokesperson for the prisons declined to comment, citing the agency’s policy of not commenting on ongoing or pending litigation.

In April, the department announced a two-year plan to phase out operations at the maximum-security prison, citing falling incarceration rates and huge maintenance costs at one of its oldest facilities.

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