“…Inmates with serious mental disorders were often kept in isolation for weeks, sometimes nude, in roach-infested cells smeared with human waste.”By MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
WRAL – “RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at North Carolina’s Central Prison alleges correctional officers used “blind spots” out of view of security cameras to beat handcuffed and shackled inmates.
An amended complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court by lawyers at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services says the beatings occurred in Unit One, a cell block known as “The Hole” where inmates are kept in solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons.
The inmates’ abuse claims are supported by medical records documenting blunt-force injuries that occurred while they were segregated from other prisoners, including broken bones, concussions and an inmate who is still unable to walk months after his hip was shattered.
N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker said the agency would not comment on pending litigation. Kim Genardo, spokeswoman for Gov. Pat McCrory, said he too would have no comment.
The lawsuit names as defendants 21 correctional officers accused of participating in the abuse, as well as two wardens at the maximum security prison in Raleigh. The lawsuit alleges that former prison administrator Gerald J. Branker and current administrator Kenneth Lassister knew about the problems.
Branker’s retirement was announced in 2011 after The Associated Press obtained a copy of a scathing internal review that found inmates with serious mental disorders were often kept in isolation for weeks, sometimes nude, in roach-infested cells smeared with human waste.
The new complaint said the problems at Central have grown even worse under Lassiter, detailing multiple cases of correctional officers using “unnecessary, excessive, malicious and sadistic force” the inmates’ lawyers believe violated Constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.” Full Article on WRAL