Colorado inmate sues to get out of solitary confinement
Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) – An inmate who’s been in solitary confinement for nearly a decade filed a lawsuit Monday claiming he is mentally ill and should be transferred.
In the suit filed in U.S. District Court, Troy Anderson, 40, claims Colorado State Penitentiary officials have documented his mental illness but refuse to acknowledge it.
The lawsuit claims a prison psychiatrist noted in 2006 that Anderson had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and cognitive disorder, which can lead to panic attacks, and showed traits of borderline personality disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.
The lawsuit was filed by University of Denver law students.
Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti had not seen the lawsuit and declined immediately comment.
Anderson claimed his mental illness causes him to act out, but prison officials had failed to give him proper medication. In addition, the prison employs an arbitrary demerit system that leaves him with no way to earn his way out of solitary confinement, like other inmates, the lawsuit states.
The system penalizes prisoners for having a bad attitude, being non-responsive and complaining, the suit states.
“You don’t find out that you got one until you’re actually denied progression to the next level,” said Brittany Glidden, supervisory attorney for the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic. “Essentially, he could potentially spend the rest of his life there.”
Anderson has spent a combined 23 years in prison for offenses that included violent clashes with police in 1998 and 1999.
Colorado State Penitentiary houses the most violent and disruptive inmates, who spend 23 hours alone in a cell, with an hour for recreation in an enclosed gym and a 15-minute timed shower five days a week.
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