Mental health

Mental health neglect in Jail.

What is the eligibility to sue County jail for mental health abuse and neglect. I got refused mental health counseling and prescribed pills that are harmful when mixed but that also were not for my condition. I believe it was a cheap way out that affected my well being but was told they would help. When release to rehab my psych counselor was in disbelief of what they had me take. Help?

Nathan’s Answer

The quality of county jail medical care in California is suffering due to overcrowding. As a result, lawsuits have been filed by the ACLU in federal court. One lawsuit stems from a county jail failing to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Another lawsuit stems from wholesale inadequate care by the contracted medical provider, where for example, an inmate's own anti-anxiety medication was taken away. One of the cases has been certified as a class action meaning many similarly situated were potentially harmed by substandard treatment.

It is often said that jails should not release inmates worse off than when they came in. If your well being was in fact harmed, as my colleague above pointed out, it may be prudent to contact the ACLU as well as the local Public Defender and see if they have already investigated the situation at your local jail. They may be coordinating with private counsel already. If they are not, you will need to consult with qualified private counsel yourself.

Bear in mind that to sue any government entity in California, you will be using a different set of rules to figure out when a lawsuit is timely, or if it is barred by the statute of limitations, as statutes of limitations typically run out much faster when going up against the government.

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