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Georgia prison inmates allege systematic abuse and cover-up in class action

[JURIST] A class of over forty Georgia inmates filed suit Tuesday in the US District Court for Middle District of Georgia [official website], seeking compensation for alleged widespread physical abuse - including two deaths - and intimidation of prisoners statewide. Twenty-five guards and prison officials are alleged to have committed systematic beatings, later orchestrating a cover-up that included torturing prisoners who complained. The complaint said that inmates Charles "Chad" Clark and Jonathan Haynes died as a result of the beatings. Over forty inmates provided specific accounts of abuse, isolation, and starvation, occurring primarily from 2003 to 2005. Medical personnel are also implicated in the alleged cover-up. The Georgia Department of Corrections [official website] said that an internal investigation is pending.

The class action lawsuit follows over 40 individual lawsuits filed in recent years alleging prisoner abuse. The Georgia state constitution [text] expressly bans physical abuse as punishment. In 2006, a report from the UN Committee against Torture [JURIST report] urged the US to do more to protect domestic prisoners and suspects from violence and threats of violence. AP has more.

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