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Inmates, Familes File Individual Corrections Lawsuits

8:00 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The South Carolina Department of Corrections is facing more court battles.

Yesterday's ruling against the department found abuses against mentally ill inmates and inadequate mental health policies and practices.

The agency is also facing legal action from inmates and families who have filed their own suits in federal court against the department and various employees as well.

According to a website set up to advocate for mentally ill inmates, in March of 2008, officers at Broad River Correctional found Baxter Vinson had severely injured himself and corrections employees responded in riot gear to escort him to solitary confinement, where he was strapped down in a restraint chair.

Vinson claims a doctor on staff was notified, but decided not to send him to the hospital immediately, and told security teams to put him in restraints. He says he was strapped for two hours, despite having his intestines hanging out.

He also says it took five and a half hours between the time he hurt himself, to the time he was taken to a hospital.

Vinson filed a federal lawsuit, writing some of the initial forms himself. He wrote: "The deliberate indifference and great apathy that was displayed by the medical staff and security personnel was both unprofessional and life threatening."

Another individual case naming the Department of Corrections, involves Jerome Laudman, an inmate who lawyers say died after treatment and filthy condition in the Lee County Corrections Facility in February 2008. His family has filed a separate federal lawsuit.

In it, they believe he was put in a "supermax cell" alone for 11 days, and had not been taking his medication for that time period.

Laudman was found naked, unresponsive, covered in feces, vomit and dirt. They say his body temperature was 80.6 when he was found. They say after his death, inmates were ordered to clean the cell before investigators arrived.

Both of cases are still moving through the federal court system.

The Department of Corrections has said it plans to appeal yesterday's order against the agency and had no comment of other pending lawsuits.

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