Mentally Ill Inmates Had To Bark Like Dogs For Food, Suit Claims

After allegations surfaced, investigators tried to look into the matter but were never allowed to talk to inmates. Now, they are suing for access.

After horrific abuse allegations surfaced, investigators headed down to David Wade Correctional Center in Louisiana for a tour, only to find staff were told not to speak to them. Now, a lawsuit is being filed.

According to Advocacy Center, a New Orleans-based advocacy organization fighting on behalf of people with disabilities and seniors, disabled people who are incarcerated at the Louisiana facility have fallen victim to a string of abuses. These inmates are often beaten, kicked, slapped, left naked in the winter, and at times, they are even sprayed with bleach and mace, Mic reports.

A report from inmates indicates that they were even forced to bark like dogs if they wanted to eat.

Attorney Katie Schwartzmann, who's part of the team of lawyers involved in this suit, says that when she handed a piece of paper with her name to an inmate, the staff simply took it from him.

“We're very alarmed about how people are being treated,” she told reporters.

Initially, as investigators entered the facility to look into the allegations, the suit alleges that inmates “pleaded for help, others asked questions, some shouted.” And still, even with inmates never expressing “threatening or disruptive intent,” the suit continues, investigators were never given the chance to talk to them.

In order for attorneys and investigators to know exactly what has been going on at David Wade Correctional Center, the suit is asking the court to grant AC access to the prison so further investigation is carried out.

With the number of incarcerated people with mental illness being 10 times the number of people in psychiatric hospitals, it's terrifying to think that, perhaps, the abuse problem isn't only an issue in Louisiana. If in this facility inmates are subject to such abuse, it's heartbreaking to think of what other risks prisoners are being exposed to in other correctional centers across the country.

Hopefully, this investigation is able to help inspire other advocacy groups to look into similar allegations coming from facilities in other states.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Flickr user meesh.

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