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Federal judge rules Virgin Islands failing to care for mentally ill prisoners

[JURIST] US District Judge Stanley S. Brotman ruled late last week that the US Virgin Islands has inadequate health care available for the territory's mentally ill prisoners awaiting trial. Brotman threatened to find the government in contempt [ACLU press release] if the conditions do not improve within two months. This is the fourth time in 12 years the court has legally warned the Virgin Islands government but it is the first time the judge has ordered daily fines if the government does not meet its deadline.

The squalid condition of the territory's prison mental health system was first brought to the court's attention in 1993 when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a class action lawsuit based on the systematic abuse of mentally ill inmates. The reported abuses range from overcrowded facilities to a complete lack of proper mental health policy. AP has more.

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