For the past 24 years, the ACLU has represented a class of prisoners at MSP in a civil rights class action challenging a variety of conditions of confinement at the facility. The case was settled in 1994. Over the next ten years, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of various issues in the case on the basis of expert findings that MSP was in substantial compliance with several of the settlement’s provisions. The sole remaining issue has been Defendants’ compliance with Section 9 of the 1994 Settlement, requiring Defendants to ensure that prisoners with disabilities are not excluded from housing, services, facilities or programs, and are integrated into the mainstream of the institution, that is — essentially — requiring compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
CREEC joined the team in 2014 to help address barrier and policy issues arising under the ADA.
CREEC, ACLU-NPP, and ACLU of Montana are now pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement of the remaning ADA issues with the Montana Department of Corrections. In summary, pursuant to this new settlement, MDOC will
- Remove specific architectural barriers identified by court-appointed experts or take specific steps to ensure program access;
- Amend specific MDOC policies, MSP procedures, and other policy documents to ensure program access for inmates with disabilities;
- Train new and existing staff at MSP to ensure that the policies and procedures are implemented; and
- Pay Class Counsel’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, in an amount to be approved by the Court.
You can read a copy of the settlement here. The parties filed a motion today requesting that the Court grant preliminary approval of the settlement, order that notice be sent out to class members, and schedule a Final Approval Hearing.