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Lawsuit Against Connecticut 'Supermax' Prison Alleges Cruel And Unusual Punishment

Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut.
Photo courtesy Connecticut State Department Of Correction
Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut.

A disability rights group has sued the state of Connecticut over what it calls abuse at the state’s only Supermax prison.

Disability Rights Connecticut said the use of prolonged isolation and in-cell shackling at Northern Correctional Institute is cruel and unusual punishment for people with mental illness. Prison reform advocates say inmates at Northern are kept in their cells for more than 22 hours a day, sometimes with their hands and legs shackled together.

Northern has been criticized for its use of solitary confinement, including by a U.N. torture expert. The prison served as an isolation unit for inmates with COVID-19 from March to September of last year.

The ACLU of Connecticut and a Yale Law School clinic joined the group in the lawsuit.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.