The Associated Press reported Monday that the Department of Corrections (SCDC) filed a notice late last week that it would appeal a January ruling by Circuit Judge Michael Baxley. Baxley ruled SCDC’s treatment of mentally ill inmates is substandard and likely violates the state constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In that case, Baxley sided with inmates who sued the Corrections Department in 2005 with the help of the nonprofit Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities.
The ruling slammed the Corrections Department for failures in screening new inmates for mental health problems, properly administering medication, and preventing suicide. He gave the agency six months to come up with a plan on how to deal with better serving its mentally ill inmates. Those six months will expire in June.
Corrections officials said at the time that the ruling singled out their agency for what is currently a national problem.
Baxley denied a request to reconsider his ruling in March.