KENT COUNTY JAIL OPENS DOOR TO LAWSUITS Pt 1
Posted in the Kent County Forum
Since: Dec 13
#1 Dec 19, 2013
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress ....
A person can file this lawsuit from the confines of a county jail or after release. Most states allow these law- suits to be filed up to 3 years after the violation of ones rights had occurred. The courts will allow one to proceed in forma pauperis, which mean the lawsuit can proceed at little or no cost. The trick is to show the court that the inmate has little or no money in his inmate account and that he/she has no outside assets. This is usually not a problem since most Methadone Maintenance Patients and inmates in jail live below the poverty line (a minority). This form must be used: http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/FormsAndFees...
Denial of access to Medication Assisted Treatment at any level of the criminal justice system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act where the denial is pursuant to a blanket policy prohibiting Medication Assisted Treatment or is denied without the required objective individualized evaluation to do so by the physician at the patients Opioid Treatment Program. The denial of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) pursuant to a policy prohibiting the use of any prescribed controlled substance also violates the ADA and Rehabilitation Act due to its disparate impact on opiate-addicted individuals receiving or in need of MAT or if the agency fails to grant MAT as a “reasonable accommodation.”
Kent County Correctional Facility’s prohibitive policy violated the United States Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment” and/or the Fourteenth Amendment “due process” clause when they forced me, against my will, to detoxify without the provision of medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for that use and/or the manufactures’ detailed cessation protocol for the drug; in this case, the withdrawal protocol dictated by the Opioid Treatment Program in which I participated.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that when a prison policy eliminates potential treatment options it becomes impossible to consider a full range of medical treatment. While the federal court acknowledged its proper deferential role to state prison authorities, it declared its superior function is to protect the constitutional rights of prisoners.
A grant of deference may not be so broad so as to tread on the constitutional rights of prisoners. The court has rejected the jails’ security interest argument in denying methadone, suggesting that there were other means available to ensure jail security, including housing Methadone Maintenance Treatment recipients separately and allowing neighborhood clinic personnel to visit and administer the drug.
The court reasoned that because methadone is distributed in liquid form and must be consumed in the presence of the person administering the drug according to strict regulations, an in-house illicit market for methadone is “at best highly remote.”
The courts must evaluate penal measures against “broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity, and decency.” The policy in question at the Kent County Correctional Facility fails miserably in this regard.
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