By Julie Wernau
East Lyme — Following “damning” inspection reports that claim the treatment of inmates at the state's only women's prison has seriously deteriorated, the ACLU of Connecticut might reopen a class-action lawsuit from the 1980s that led to standards of care there. The civil liberties agency said inmates at York Correctional Institution have needlessly died, been sexually abused, become ill and attempted suicide as a result of negligent care at the prison.
“Things are very bad,” said Renee Redman, the ACLU chapter's legal director. “Something is wrong.” She said too many women — approximately two-thirds of about 1,400 inmates — are on psychotropic medication, which affects brain chemistry.
The agency cites as its source court-ordered reports from prison visits, which have been mandated twice a year since the 1980s.
Redman would not release the reports, which she called “damning.” The documents have been sealed by the court, she said, to protect prisoners' privacy. She would not comment further on possible legal action by her agency.