Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has shelved plans to build special treatment units for hundreds of seriously mentally ill inmates, two years after advocates for prisoners alleged in a federal lawsuit that the state's practice of keeping such inmates in solitary confinement 23 hours a day was inhumane and causing suicides, reports the Boston Globe.
Citing the state budget crisis, state lawyers said negotiations to settle the suit by the Disability Law Center out of court have ended. The center has asked a federal judge in Boston to schedule a trial for January 2011, while the state wants it to start a year later. The collapse of negotiations marks a startling reversal from where things stood a year ago.