As a result of the high suicide rate and the growing problem of the treatment of the mentally ill in Massachusetts prisons, especially the consequences of placing this vulnerable population in solitary confinement, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections has entered into a settlement agreement with the Disability Law Center. The agreement, which is pending court approval and remains under seal, requires the Department of Corrections to maintain the number of beds in secure treatment units, limits the amount of time that prisoners with severe mental illness can be housed in department disciplinary units or in special management units to 3o days, provide expanded mental health services and out-of-cell time, among other things; these improvements may cost the Department of Corrections $5.6 million a year.

Metrowest reports.