The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has challenged the treatment of inmates in Virginia prisons, particularly the "Super Max" Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, where a young inmate was found dead in January. The 20-year-old man's death was reportedly a suicide, but his family has questioned the report from the state Department of Corrections.
The ACLU of Virginia called upon the governor to ban many uses of solitary confinement, which can be psychologically damaging to vulnerable inmates with mental illness. Protecting the rights of prisoners goes hand in hand with the rights of suspects at the hands of law enforcement and the rights of the accused in criminal proceedings.
Isolation, mental illness and social functioning
According to the Daily Press, the ACLU's report highlighted a lack of transparency from the Virginia department of Corrections (DOC) with regard to its isolation of prisoners. While the DOC uses the term "restrictive housing" and defends its practices, the ACLU demanded more accountability from the agency.
In addition to requesting a governor's mandate on the use of isolation, the ACLU recommended the required provision of a written explanation to a prisoner who is being placed in restrictive housing. It also recommended an internationally recognized limit of 15 days on isolating prisoners, according to the Daily Press.
Protecting your rights or the rights of your family member
In many cases, the government oversteps its reach in how it treats the accused or the convicted. If you need assistance with a Virginia criminal matter, talk to a law firm with a depth of legal knowledge and a willingness to take an aggressive stance in protecting your rights or the rights of your loved one.