Apr 26, 2011 1:23 PM by Greg Boyce

Bill would change rules on mentally ill in solitary confinement

DENVER (AP) - A bill to limit the number of mentally ill inmates who can be put in solitary confinement in Colorado prisons faces its first vote in the Legislature.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote Tuesday on the measure. The percentage of Colorado inmates with mental health problems who were placed in solitary confinement more than doubled between 1999 and 2008. Many were released from prison without having a chance to readjust to human interaction.

The bill would require state prisons to have a physician evaluate inmates with such illnesses as bipolar mood disorders or paranoid schizophrenia before they're placed in solitary confinement. The Department of Corrections opposes the measure, which was first heard last month.


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