Judge calls use of pepper spray ‘horrific’

A fed­er­al judge in Sac­ra­mento on Thursday called Cali­for­nia’s use of large amounts of pep­per spray to sub­due men­tally ill pris­on­ers a “hor­rif­ic” vi­ol­a­tion of con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions against cruel and un­usu­al pun­ish­ment. U.S. Dis­trict Judge Lawrence Karlton’s or­der re­quires Cali­for­nia to con­tin­ue re­vis­ing policies that gov­ern how men­tally in­mates in the state’s pris­ons are dis­cip­lined, in­clud­ing how de­cisions are made to pun­ish those pris­on­ers by put­ting them in­to sol­it­ary con­fine­ment. He found that such isol­a­tion of men­tally ill in­mates “can and does cause ser­i­ous psy­cho­lo­gic­al harm” and must be lim­ited.

Sources: U.S. District Court

Credits: Paige St. John