By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina prisons have reached an agreement with an advocacy group over how to reform the care of mentally ill inmates.
The Department of Corrections announced Thursday it had reached a preliminary agreement with Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities on a plan to establish benchmarks for settling a decade-old case.
Talks have been ongoing since last year, when a judge sided with inmates who sued the agency in 2005. Alleged constitutional violations included a lack of effective counseling and too much use of tactics like isolation and force to subdue mentally ill prisoners.
In her executive budget, Gov. Nikki Haley recommended over $4 million in recurring support to expand Corrections' capacity to diagnose and treat mentally ill inmates, provide onsite medical services and establish remote supervision.