Website Says Video Shows SC Prison Abuse

7:30 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A circuit court judge ruled the SC Department of Corrections is not taking steps to provide medical treatment necessary for mentally ill inmates.

Lawyers involved in the case released several videos that they say shows the kind of mistreatment that led to the judgement.

Mental health advocates and lawyers involved in the case posted the videos on a the website.

The clips in question are very disturbing. News19 edited much of the video after much consideration of its disturbing nature. 

The clips show the moments after two inmates attempted suicide. Both of the men involved have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. Their lawyers say in both cases it took several hours to get the inmate proper medical treatment.

The first incident took place in March of 2008 at the Broad River Correctional facility in Columbia. Officers found an inmate who had cut his arms and his abdomen. 

A hour and a half later, guards in riot gear escorted him to solitary confinement. He is strapped down in a restraint chair. Advocates say a nurse then attempts to put his intestines back into his abdominal wall. During that process the inmate calls his treatment modern torture.

Two hours after being put in the restraining chair, he is escorted to a van and taken to a hospital. 

The other video is from September of 2009 at Perry Correctional in Anderson County. Lawyers say an inmate being held in solitary confinement cut himself on his arm. 90 minutes after he was found, officers placed him onto a stretcher, took him into a cell and strapped him down in a chair. 

On the raw video, you can hear the inmate beg to be taken to a hospital. Someone in the room responds that a supervisor has to make those decisions. A voice is heard saying "I just do what I'm told."

His lawyers say he was strapped down in the chair for 4 hours before being stripped naked and put in a crisis intervention cell.

Wednesday afternoon the Department of Corrections sent this statement about the judge's ruling: "The South Carolina Department of Corrections has received the decision in this case. The agency intends to appeal the 2005 lawsuit. Mental health is not just a corrections' problem, it's a national problem that all sectors of society are working to address."

Governor Nikki Haley spoke briefly about the lawsuit. Haley told reporters, "we're aware of it, we've heard about it, we're going to get together with our attorneys and see what that means but we'll follow through on that accordingly."





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