Legal settlement will ensure timely mental health care for inmates
Colorado has agreed to hire an independent consultant to ensure that its mental health system doesn’t violate inmates’ rights to a speedy trial.
The agreement was reached Tuesday in the settlement of a lawsuit brought against the state in December 2015 by the Disability Law Center. The suit re-opened a 2012 case in which the Center challenged what it called the state’s chronic delays in court-ordered competency evaluations for inmates awaiting trial. The Center said inmates were waiting weeks, even months, for evaluations and treatment.
The suit also alleged that the Colorado Department of Human Services had fabricated monthly data to make it appear as though detainees were receiving timely services. The agreement orders the department to hire an independent consultant to oversee continuing operations of the state’s mental health system for the remaining duration of a 10-year agreement made in 2012. The consultant is to ensure compliance and data reporting, and is to meet with DLC and the state on a quarterly basis to provide updates.
Flickr photo by Michael Coghlan.