North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said conditions for state prison inmates with mental illness are unacceptable and that improvements are being made, reports the Associated Press. Perdue blamed years of budget cuts and understaffing for the poor conditions found at the mental health unit at Raleigh’s Central Prison. The AP reported Sunday that an internal review conducted by the state Department of Correction found that inmates were neglected and isolated for months in fetid cells. Staff sometimes took clothing and mattresses away from inmates kept in “therapeutic seclusion,” leaving them to sleep nude on steel bunks or the concrete floor.
No prison staff members were fired or disciplined following the scathing internal report, which was obtained by the AP through a public records request. “Nobody expects really luxurious treatment for any prisoners; they’re there for a reason” Perdue said. “But we also expect there to be very decent, humane, healthy conditions for the prison population. This is unacceptable to me.” She said conditions for the inmates will get better when the state opens a $155 million hospital and mental facility later this month.