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Colorado will stop putting mentally ill inmates in solitary

The Associated Press Updated: December 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

DENVER — Colorado prison officials are being directed to stop placing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement as the corrections department continues to decrease the number of people on administrative segregation.

In a memo to wardens, interim Director of Prisons Lou Archuleta tells them that inmates with major mental illnesses "cannot be referred for Administrative Segregation placement." The memo is dated Tuesday.

On Wednesday, DOC Executive Director Rick Raemisch (RAY'-mish) gave state lawmakers a glimpse of what has been an evolving policy at his department. He said there are only eight inmates in solitary confinement with a major mental illness now, compared to 140 last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado praised the direction from DOC, but says DOC needs to broaden its definition for who is considered mentally ill.

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