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A proposed legal settlement would bar Indiana's prisons from holding inmates with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement and improve their access to mental health care

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INDIANAPOLIS — A proposed settlement of a long-running lawsuit would bar Indiana's prisons from holding inmates with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement and improve their access to mental health care.

The proposal was filed this week in federal court after the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission reached an agreement with the Indiana Department of Correction.

It would bar most seriously mentally ill inmates from being placed in solitary confinement and calls for "minimum adequate treatment" for those prisoners.

If a judge approves the proposal, it would settle a lawsuit the ACLU filed in 2008 accusing the DOC of violating mentally ill inmates' constitutional rights.

A judge found in December 2012 that the DOC had in fact violated inmates' constitutional rights.

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