An Colorado inmate was shackled to a chair for five and a half days without exercise or sleep because officials suspected him of swallowing bags of heroin and wanted to collect the evidence, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Lights in the room were never turned off, and inmate Brian Willert, 29, was strip-searched and cavity-searched 17 times, even though a guard sat a few feet away watching him constantly.
Chaffee County District Court Judge Charles M. Barton threw out the evidence – which Willert eventually managed to produce – ruling that it resulted from an unreasonable search. He said prison officials could have accomplished the same thing in a few hours by obtaining a court order to administer a laxative. “Forcing a shackled inmate to sit in a chair for over five days posed, in the court’s opinion, an unreasonable risk to the life and health of the inmate,” Barton said. Prison officials failed to check on Willert’s health after he tested positive for methamphetamine on the fourth day, indicating a balloon containing that drug might have burst inside, giving him an overwhelming dose. Prisons frequently place inmates in dry cells to see if they have ingested balloons of drugs.