Prisoners are patients too: June 2010 MDOC agreement on standards of care.

This is the actual text of the agreement MDOC made regarding mental health and health care services for prisoners earlier this month. While some things clearly apply specifically to the litigants only, I read much of this as applying to the whole prison population of Mississippi…someone correct me if I’m wrong.

The suit can be resumed within a year by any of the plaintiffs if the MDOC doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. I think we should reference this case in every complaint we make about health or mental health care to the MDOC from now on – and be sure to forward our documentation of neglect and abuse at the other prisons to the court and/or the plaintiffs’ attorney with the ACLU…


v. No. 4:05-cv-00148



The Parties, by their undersigned counsel, hereby agree to seek an Order of Dismissal without Prejudice, on the following terms:

1. The above-captioned case is dismissed without prejudice by stipulation of the parties on the terms set forth herein. Defendants represent that it is their intention to relocate the entire current population of Unit 32 to appropriate housing within the MDOC or a facility contracted with the MDOC to provide for care of MDOC prisoners. Plaintiffs have entered into this Agreement in reliance on Defendants’ representations.

2. Defendants agree that within one year from the entry of this Order, they will correct alleged deficiencies in the system of delivery of medical and mental health treatment to class members by undertaking certain improvements in the delivery of care, as set forth below in paragraph 3 of this Agreement.

3. The improvements in the delivery of care which Defendants agree to implement are as follows:

With respect to mental health care, Defendants agree:

A. They will no longer house any persons with serious mental illness at Unit 32 and they will transfer all persons with serious mental illness to East Mississippi Correctional Facility or, in the rare and extraordinary case where a seriously mentally ill prisoner cannot safely be housed at EMCF, then another appropriate facility. For purposes of this Agreement, the term “serious mental illness” refers to the definition of severe mental illness set forth in paragraph 1 of the Supplemental Consent Decree entered by the Court in this action on November 15, 2007.

B. They will ensure that services to address the mental health needs of all prisoners meet generally accepted professional standards.

C. They will maintain sufficient staffing levels of qualified health care professionals to provide care for prisoners’ mental health needs that meets generally accepted professional standards.

D. They will provide timely access to psychiatrists and other mental health care providers and they will provide a face-to-face encounter when a request for care reports a clinical symptom or a desire for a change in treatment.

E. They will ensure that encounters with mental health care providers occur in a clinical setting that ensures audio privacy and confidentiality.

F. They will ensure that all encounters with patients are timely and adequately documented in the medical record progress notes and other documentation of care will be kept in accordance with accepted professional standards.

G. They will ensure monitoring of patients on psychotropic medications in accordance with the community standard of care. Medications and pharmacy services will comply with community standards.

H. They will develop appropriate treatment protocols to address the needs of Unit 32 patients suffering acute psychiatric crises including, when indicated, constant observation in a room designed to facilitate such observation. Unit 32 inmates that are patients housed in Unit 42 or another unit for crisis management will have reasonable out-of-cell time daily and access to a variety of treatment modalities as clinically indicated. Unit 42 or any other unit designated for crisis management will not be used to house patients requiring an inpatient level of care longer than necessary to stabilize and transfer.

I. They will provide timely access to an inpatient level of care for patients for whom such care is clinically indicated.

With respect to medical care, Defendants agree:

J. They will provide timely and adequate access to care to meet prisoners’ serious medical needs, and ensure that services meet generally accepted professional standards.

K. Sick call services and acute care will include adequate patient assessments, physical examinations, and treatment plans. Referrals to mid-level or advanced level providers will be made timely as clinically indicated.

L. All care provided will be properly documented in the medical record in accordance with community standards.

M. They will develop policies and procedures to provide sufficient operational guidance to staff providing health care services, including a written set of physician-approved nursing protocols;

N. They will maintain sufficient numbers of qualified health care professionals to meet prisoners’ medical needs and sufficient security staffing to ensure timely patient escorts to clinics. They will ensure that all persons providing medical treatment possess licensure and/or certification that permit them to practice within the State of Mississippi and that such persons practice only within the scope of their training and licensure.

O. Patients with chronic conditions will be seen in chronic care clinics at a frequency determined by their level of disease control. Treatment will be in accordance with nationally accepted clinical guidelines.

P. Patients will receive ordered medications timely and without interruption. Medications will be administered and documented in accordance with accepted nursing standards.

Q. Defendants will conduct quality improvement activities and adequate clinical performance reviews. All clinical staff will be properly supervised.

4. Defendants agree that on reasonable notice Plaintiffs and their experts will have unimpeded access to facilities, staff, inmates, and medical records at Mississippi State Penitentiary and any other MDOC facility to which Defendants transfer Presley class members for purposes of monitoring Defendants’ progress in correcting the alleged deficiencies in the delivery of medical and mental health care identified in paragraph 3 of this Agreement.

5. Within one year from the date of this Order, Plaintiffs may file a motion requesting that this case be restored to the Court’s active docket, based on the findings of Plaintiffs’ experts that Defendants have not substantially remedied the alleged deficiencies in medical and mental health care described in paragraph 3 of this Settlement Agreement. If the Plaintiffs file such a motion supported by the experts’ findings, the case will be restored to the Court’s active docket and the case will be set down for an evidentiary hearing on whether there exist current and ongoing violations with respect the Plaintiffs’ right to constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care.

6. If Plaintiffs do not file the motion described in paragraph 5 within the prescribed time period, or if the motion is filed but the Court finds after evidentiary hearing that there is no current and ongoing violation of Plaintiffs’ right to constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care, the case will be finally dismissed with prejudice.

7. The Court will retain jurisdiction of the case until it is finally dismissed pursuant to the terms of this Order, and to determine the reasonable amount of plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, expert fees and costs, pursuant to Paragraph 18 of the original Consent Decree entered in this case on April 28, 2006.


/s/ Margaret Winter
Gabriel B. Eber
915 15th Street, N.W., Seventh Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tel. (202) 393-4930; fax (202) 393-4931

Stephen F. Hanlon
Laura Fernandez
2099 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 955-3000; fax (202) 955-5564

Robert B. McDuff
MS Bar No. 2532
767 N. Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Tel. (601) 969-0802; fax (601) 969-0804

_s/ Christopher B. Epps_______________
Christopher B. Epps

s/ Leonard C. Vincent________________
MS BAR NO. 6615
Post Office Box 38
Parchman, Mississippi 38738
(662) 745-66ll, Ext. 2307
Fax: (662) 745-2959

s/James M. Norris__________________
MS BAR NO. 3882
Post Office Box 36
Parchman, Mississippi 38738
(662) 745-66ll, Ext. 4159
Fax: (662) 745-2959

ACLU files motion to dismiss suit against MDOC

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A proposed agreement has been reached to remove all inmates from the notorious Unit 32 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, which once housed death row and mentally ill inmates in conditions that prisoner advocates described as inhumane.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court asking a federal judge to dismiss its lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections. MDOC has been implementing changes at Unit 32 ever since a consent decree was reached in the case in 2006, a year after the complaint was filed.

“It’s a very big and important step after these profound stages to now be emptying that place, finally,” said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project.

The agreement requires MDOC to transfer all the remaining inmates in Unit 32 to other housing over the next several months and ensure all inmates receive adequate medical and mental health care.

The unit had held as many as 1,000 inmates. Winter said fewer than 200 remain in Unit 32, and it’s unclear where they will be placed. The agreement requires those with serious mental illness to be housed at MDOC’s mental health facility in Meridian.

“My hope is that we will not see Unit 32 re-created somewhere else,” Winter said.

MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps was traveling Friday and couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. MDOC’s changes at the facility in recent years have pertained to health care, mental health care, the use of force and the classification of prisoners.

“We have more than complied with the agreement that we entered into with the ACLU and this dismissal is evidence of our compliance,” Epps said in a statement released through his office Friday.

The ACLU had alleged in its complaint that mentally ill inmates were sent to Unit 32 because of poor discipline, but a 23-hour-a-day confinement caused their condition to worsen. The ACLU also alleged physical abuse by guards, poor sanitary conditions and extreme heat during the summer months.

“It was one of the very worst prisons in the nation when we brought this suit. The conditions there were atrocious,” Winter said. “It was a generator for violence and mental illness.”

The ACLU will monitor the situation over the next year, and if conditions of the agreement aren’t met, the lawsuit can be restored to the court docket, Winter said.

Scott Watch: Lifting as we Climb

This came via the Scott Sisters’ support network today. I’d also encourage people to contact the Kidney Foundation (local and national chapters) and organ donor advocacy groups and let them know that a critically ill Mississippi patient desperately needs their expertise. Refer them to the Free the Scott Sisters blog. Nancy Lockhart is one of the main contacts, though I am not sure who authored the post below.

Jamie’s Life Saved by Fellow Prisoner!
Jamie Scott called home last night to the relief of her mother and family!  Following dialysis treatment at the prison last week Jamie was locked in a cell and was not checked on at all by anyone for a very long while.  When an inmate stopped by Jamie’s cell to speak to her, the inmate was alarmed that she was not moving and was completely unresponsive.  It was because of this inmate yelling out for help that Jamie was found to be in shock and rushed by ambulance to the Central Mississippi Medical Facility, where she had been a patient during the entire time the prison refused to give her mother or legal supporters any information at all.

If not for this inmate’s intervention Jamie may not have survived.  Her heart rate and blood pressure were way off, as well as her magnesium levels.  Her treatment had not been carried out properly and the doctor had to send back written instructions on how to care for her.  The doctor alerted Jamie that there was a problem with the insertion of the temporary catheter in her neck and that it’s placement could lead to infection, stating that the doctor who placed it needed to be contacted.  
As of last night Jamie was in the prison infirmary.
We are more concerned than ever about Jamie’s medical care and are still pushing for mainstream media coverage to shine a bright light on her steady, perilous decline due to CUT-RATE medical care with the prison’s rule of thumb being whatever is quickest, cheapest (whether or not it’s actually the right treatment) or nothing at all!  
Although Mrs. Rasco has a legal advisor, Atty Jaribu Hill, she is still in dire need of a criminal attorney.  There are many issues that need to be addressed and we are actively seeking any information that would help her obtain a lawyer.  We are extremely fortunate to have a fantastic and heavily experienced paralegal recently volunteer to work with us and who  would be of great assistance to any attorney that would help to right the very egregious wrongs the Scott Sisters have suffered these many years.  
Jamie Scott nor her sister should even be locked down in that prison  in the first place, this case is galling beyond belief and calls into question  every platitude this nation applies to itself when falsely lauding itself as a  human rights champion!  Please continue to make as many contacts as  possible on the Scott Sisters’ behalf, we are interested in all of your ideas and creativity to get this story out there!

–Here are the contacts – including several not on earlier posts – to advocate for Jamie—


Governor Haley Barbour

P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741

(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

Brad Rogers, Mayor (Where Jamie is incarcerated):
City of Pearl
P.O. Box 5948
Pearl, MS 39288-5948

(Street Address for City of Pearl):
2420 Old Brandon Road
Pearl, MS 39208

Congressman Gregg Harper

(the women in this prison should be his constituents; cite their address)
 3rd Congressional District
2507-A Old Brandon Road
Pearl, MS 39208
Phone: (601) 932 2410
Fax: (601) 932 4647

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran
United States Senate
Wash., D.C. 20510-2402
JACKSON 601-965-4459
Contact Form:

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001


(601) 960-4426 newsroom
(601) 355-7830 newsroom fax

“Stribling, Wilson” <>, ( Asst News Director )

calling 601-922-1607. To report news tips, call 601-922-1652. to submit news to the MGR, news anchor or anyone use this link

Phone: (601) 372-6311
Fax: (601) 372-8798


National MEDIA:

Listing of NBC/MSNBC Show e-mails at

NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
Phone: (212) 664-4444
Fax: (212) 664-4426



524 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-975-4321
Fax: 212-975-1893


77 W. 66 St., New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-456-7777

One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1784

Joe Madison:

Geraldo Rivera:

Oprah Contact Form:

USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108
Phone: 703-854-3400
Fax: 703-854-2078
Associated Press
450 West 33rd St., New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-621-1500
Fax: 212-621-7523
General Questions and Comments:

Dr. Gloria Perry, Director

MDOC Medical Department
(601) 359-5155

Margaret Bingham, Superintendent of Central Mississippi Corrections Facility
(601) 932-2880
FAX: (601) 664-0782
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, Mississippi 39208

Christopher Epps, Commissioner of Prisons for the State of Mississippi

723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Emmitt Sparkman, Deputy Commissioner MDOC
(601) 359-5610

Congressman Bennie Thompsom
Washington, D.C. Office
2432 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5876
(202) 225-5898 (Fax)

Jackson, Mississippi Office
3607 Medgar Evers Blvd
Jackson, MS 39213
(601) 946-9003
(601)-982-5337 (Fax)

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings
Washington Office
2353 Rayburn Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
Tel: (202) 225-1313
Fax: (202) 225-1171

Congressman Jeff Miller
Washington D.C.
2439 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4136
Fax: (202) 225-3414

Toll Free Phone Number to District Office
Pensacola, Florida
Phone: 866-367-1614

Scott Watch: Jamie back in Hospital

I’m not sure how the prison can withhold her hospital location from Mrs. Rasco, or what action the campaign would like us to take on it. If anyone out there has a connection with the kidney foundation, an organ donation group, a politically active women’s health clinic or rights organization, a disabity rights group – anything like that in Mississippi (we need the locals) – we need some community organizations with an appropriate stake in these issues to begin making concerned inquiries of their state legislators, requesting some immediate relief for Jamie that includes her family in the treatment planning process and allows Gladys to donate a kidney, if that’s necessary. I think right now we may still just be the usual suspects. 

The men’s medical care is bad too, but if we focus most closely on women’s health care in the Mississippi prisons – including getting documentation about rights’ violations and grievances from other prisoners – we may be able to help get more voices lobbying for Jamie’s health care from different places in the Mississippi community  by expanding our characterization of her identity. 

That is, while Jamie is a wrongfully-convicted victim of the state at risk of dying in prison before her innocence can be proven, she is also a mother (we could use help from groups that advocate for moms in prison, even though her son is an adult now),  a black woman (whose health care is notoriously substandard), a poor woman needing medical care (is it her poverty, her sentence, her specific illness, or standard MDOC policy that is preventing her from getting the proper treatment?), as a critically ill adult child (parents’ groups of disabled children may be helpful), as a woman with a major mood disorder (Alliance for the Mentally Ill may help advocate), as a woman with a disability (disabled rights activists in Mississippi would be able to see quickly that the value of Jamie’s life to society has been diminished not just by her criminalization, but also by virtue of her disabilities – they don’t like it when disabled people are cut out of the health care rations, and get left to die when life-saving measures are still available). 

That Jamie appears to have advanced kidney disease is significant – the Kidney Foundation should be interested to hear that she can’t get her special diet, and that her sister offered her a kidney and that the prison won’t allow the transplant…so many people suffer and die waiting for transplants, I don’t see how the prison could make that a blanket policy. It should at least be seriously explored. Would they prohibit Gladys from making a donation to a non-prisoner? Would they permit the transplant if costs could be mitigated in some way? 

Someone who knows more about these details needs to contact the kidney foundation and organ transplant groups in Mississippi and ask them to make a formal inquiry into prison policies and what treatment options kidney patients and people needing transplants in prison do and don’t have available to them. They can probably make a legal and moral case which may be more compelling than what we can come up with. help the DOC figure out other resources for treating these patients.

Nancy Lockhart (January 30 at 5:18pm)

Mrs. Evelyn Rasco has confirmed through a sergeant and nurse at the prison that Jamie was rushed to the hospital due to a decline in her condition earlier today. The prison will not confirm anything further, whatsoever, not even whether Jamie is still alive or where specifically she has been taken (the hospitals will not confirm whether Jamie is a patient at any of them either).

We had received a report a few days ago that Jamie should have been  returned to the Medical Bldg. at the prison due to severe weakness and difficulty carrying out her activities of daily living, however this did NOT happen.

Jamie Scott should have remained hospitalized long ago due to her kidney failure and other health issues that are impacted by such a serious development!! The prison has played games with Jamie’s life long enough and should have never moved her back from the hospital to begin with!

We need to know Jamie Scott’s condition and what is happening to her. She must not, once again, be returned to the prison to continue to deteriorate, her medical care must be taken out of the prison’s hands!

Updates will follow as soon as they are available! Please keep checking in as much as you are able!


Jamie Scott, Governor Barbour, Compassion and Grace

From Sis Marpessa
Jamie Scott’s situation remains unchanged. Our legal experts are working on a variety of different angles to make things happen for her.  Atty Jaribu Hill wants to thank all of the supporters ….. The atty. advises that we continue to focus on the governor’s office with calls, faxes and e-mails as this will complement the work that is happening.

In 2009 this governor pardoned a man that killed his wife after the woman was continually complaining about him to the police and so there is no reason that he not release Jamie and Gladys Scott who are guilty of no crime and not even charged with any violence!

Mrs. Rasco did an excellent interview on WJZD Mississippi radio yesterday to call out for help from those listeners.  Please help us to push for more national media coverage to get this case the attention it needs!

There is a major problem with some callers cursing and yelling when calling the prison.(Even I know that’s not good.) Please control yourself when speaking to these people as these outbursts are not helping but instead are actually harming our efforts.  Thanks for keeping it together and being polite.

Please use the below in your mailings and postings where a general overview is needed.  Thanks so much to all of you who have answered the call to fight for Jamie’s life and freedom for the Scott Sisters!
Here is the latest from the Scott Sisters campaign. So Jamie’s life now also rests in the hands of this man. I hope he has met her family. I hope he is a man who has some compassion and grace.
If you snail mail anything to the Governor’s office about clemency/commutation, remember to let the little ones participate. They come up with the best stuff, sometimes. They really make it simple.

I do hope this man has a heart, and gives a listen to Mrs. Rasco’s pleas.


Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)