Wisconsin will spend millions of dollars to provide female prisoners with the same level of health care services and mental health treatment already provided to male inmates, under a settlement expected to be filed tomorrow in a federal lawsuit, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The agreement, filed in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 700 female prisoners at Taycheedah Correctional Institution, requires the state to hire a full-time family practice doctor to work at Taycheedah. Now, only one part-time physician works at the prison. The full-time doctor will be paid about $195,000.
The settlement will include hiring of a consultant to review physical and mental health care at the prison, recommend improvements and monitor prison staff’s compliance with those recommendations. The ACLU’s lawsuit, which addresses medical, mental health, and dental care at the prison, was filed in 2006. It contended that Taycheedah had a “grossly deficient” medical system in which women’s health concerns were ignored for months or even years, resulting in suicides, disabling medical conditions and an outbreak of a highly contagious staph infection that may have affected hundreds of women. The settlement comes after years of reporting on the problems by the Journal Sentinel.