BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A federal judge has issued a new order to ensure Louisiana State Penitentiary inmates get proper medical care. The Department of Public Safety & Corrections plans to appeal.
The lawsuit initially was filed in 2015. U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ruled that the prison’s medical care violates the 8th Amendment against cruel punishment and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA).
On Monday, Dick released a 104-page opinion criticizing the medical care and access for people with disabilities in Angola. Dick mentioned that the “healthcare of the inmates at Angola has been the subject of consternation and criticism since 1989.”
The court will appoint three special masters to address violations. The plans would include implementing standards and procedures for:
- Sick calls.
- Clinical care.
- Specialty care.
- Infirmary and in-patient care.
- Emergency care and medical record management.
The Department of Public Safety & Corrections released the following statement:
“The Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC) strongly disagrees with the court’s opinion in this matter. This matter has been pending since 2015. During this entire time period, Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) has continued to improve health care at the facility, has added qualified health care personnel, and has improved its facilities. As evidenced by the recent 2020 pandemic, LSP has managed the healthcare and treatment of its population efficiently and effectively when compared to the community in general. The court has refused to even consider current conditions at the facility in rendering its opinion. LDOC plans to appeal this ruling and based on all of these improvements believes that it will be reversed on appeal.”
In Dick’s opinion, she explains multiple examples of inmates not receiving the proper medical attention required, resulting in them dying due to their conditions or injuries.