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Taking the Eighth: Challenging Conditions of Confinement of Inmates with Psychiatric Disabilities

William Maddox, J.D.

For the past thirteen years, the presenter has worked with the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, most recently in investigating and negotiating a settlement with Los Angeles County Jail concerning mental health care at that facility. This workshop will discuss how the Department of Justice, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, works to enforce inmates' constitutional rights to adequate mental health care. Topics covered will include the application and limitations of the Eighth Amendment, with emphasis on deliberate medical indifference; standards for adequate mental health care; suicide prevention, segregation and use of force on inmates with psychiatric disabilities; and how disability advocates can most effectively utililize the CRIPA Unit as a resource in challenging dangerous institutional conditions and practices.