ACLU-TN files lawsuit against TDOC alleging lack of Hep-C treatment is 'cruel & unusual'


The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has filed a federal lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Corrections alleging the lack of Hepatitis C treatment i s"cruel" and "unusual."

ACLU-TN filed the lawsuit on Monday, challenging the TDOC's "systematic denial of treatment to inmates affected with Hepatitis C."

“Tennessee’s prisons must operate in compliance with the Constitution,” Thomas H. Castelli, ACLU-TN legal director, said. “Incarcerating people under conditions that erode their health, safety and human dignity amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, which not only has devastating long-term effects for those individuals, but which undermines the purported purpose of a rehabilitative criminal justice system.”

ACLU said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of inmates at Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville and Hardeman County Correctional Facility in Whiteville, who were both diagnosed with Hep-C years ago while incarcerated in TDOC facilities.

The lawsuit alleges that both inmates ewer denied treatment for their disease, which is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's protection act against cruel and unusual punishment, ACLU said.

In March, TDOC said the number of inmates who tested positive for Hep-C was 3,487, but acknowledged that the number "is likely far below the true infection rate due to lack of routine testing," ACLU said in a news release.

Read the full complaint below or click here.

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