SPRINGVILLE, VT — A mentally impaired man was sentenced to 21 days after an alleged parole violation, but then spent 7 months locked in near-solitary confinement without treatment for his deteriorating mental health.
A federal lawsuit alleges that the man — named only as “Patient A” from St. Johnsbury — was left segregated for up to 22 hours per day, even weeks after state corrections and mental health officials determined he was a candidate for an emergency bed at an inpatient psychiatric hospital.
While locked away in Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont, the man “suffered significant physical and psychological harm … including psychotic breaks, malnutrition and weight loss, bruises and trauma from uses of force,” the lawsuit stated.
What’s worse, Corrections Commissioner Andrew Pallito allegedly knew of the sick patient’s dire condition, which included “self-harming behaviors, suicidal ideations, poor eating habits and extended bouts of crying and/or screaming,” and did nothing to accommodate his medical needs.
The Burlington Free Press reports the patient was initially locked away in solitary confinement as a punishment, but the treatment was later prolonged as a matter of convenience, as he was declared too sick to be treated like a normal prisoner.