This story out of Montana tells an all too common story: A boy who suffered extensive abuse in childhood, and was diagnosed with depression and PTSD, landed in a state juvenile facility; when he fought with corrections officers there, he was sentenced to 5 years and sent to an adult prison; once there, he was deemed a discipline problem after he damaged a fence, so he was placed in solitary and subjected to horrendous treatment that the ACLU does not hesitate to describe as “torture.”
The ACLU’s lawsuit names not only the state, the Department of Corrections, and the warden, but also the prison’s chief psychiatrist. From the Helena Independent Record:
A 17-year-old boy suffering from mental illnesses was so traumatized by his deplorable treatment in the Montana State Prison that he twice attempted to kill himself by biting through the skin on his wrist to puncture a vein, a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana alleges.
The lawsuit filed in Lewis and Clark County District Court claims that the boy, “Robert Doe,” has been treated illegally and inhumanely and has been detained for about 10 months in solitary confinement. Doe was Tasered as part of a “behavior modification plan,” pepper-sprayed and stripped naked in view of other inmates, the complaint states….
His available mental health treatment consists of a prison staff member knocking on his door once a week and asking if he has any concerns, according to documents, and then he must answer by yelling within earshot of other inmates.
Since March, he has been locked in a solitary cell all but five to six hours a week, and he is not allowed personal visits or telephone calls.
For more information on the case, including the press release and complaint , visit the ACLU of Montana’s web site.