I recently read an article in The Atlantic about a January 2014 ruling made by Judge J. Michael Baxley in Richland County state court. I’m including a link to that article here because I want you to have access to the judge’s opinion and other documents relating to the subject of South Carolina’s deplorable prison conditions, and The Atlantic author provides those for you.
Judge Baxley came down hard on the state’s corrections department, legislators, medical community, and even the legal community, writing that this class action brought on behalf of 3,500 mentally ill inmates was “the most troubling” case he had seen in 14 years on the bench. He found that these vulnerable members of the inmate population were treated with systematic and pervasive abuse, neglect and injury. Some poor souls were kept in solitary confinement for more than 2,000 consecutive days. The description of the filthy conditions of their cells is sickening. They were subjected to unnecessary and excessive use of physical force, sprayed with chemicals, and chained or otherwise restrained in torturous positions for hours at a time. Not surprisingly, numerous deaths and suicides are detailed in the judge’s opinion.