ACLU of Pennsylvania Sues Allegheny County for Cruel Detention of Man With Mental Illness

May 11, 2018
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PITTSBURGH - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Allegheny County today, in an effort to release a man with mental illness who is being held in solitary confinement at the county jail. Quinn Glover has been determined by county mental health professionals to be not competent to stand trial due to his mental disabilities but is incarcerated 24 hours a day without privileges in an isolation unit at Allegheny County Jail (ACJ).

Glover also suffers from physical disabilities that require regular medication, including a seizure disorder and diabetes. In a complaint filed in the federal district court, the ACLU of Pennsylvania accused Warden Orlando Harper of ACJ of “indifference” toward Glover’s condition.

“Mr. Glover needs healthcare, not more punishment,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The administration at the jail is opting for cruelty over proper treatment for his conditions.”

A hearing has been scheduled for 3:45 p.m. today before Judge Nora Barry Fischer of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Glover, who is 56, has resided in various psychiatric and nursing facilities since 2008. He was arrested in April for assault of a nursing home worker and has been unable to pay the $25,000 bond that would secure his release. He has been housed in ACJ’s Unit 5C, a psychiatric unit, since May 3. According to the ACLU’s lawsuit, his condition has deteriorated since his transfer from the jail’s medical unit to the psychiatric unit, where prisoners are confined to their cells 24 hours per day.

Meanwhile, the district attorney’s office has offered to drop charges against Glover as soon as arrangements are made to transfer him to a proper facility.

“ACJ’s treatment of Mr. Glover is cruel and a violation of his constitutional rights,” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “He should be in a medical facility, not a jail. And the jail has compounded our client’s problems by unfairly confining him in isolation.”

In its lawsuit, the ACLU is asking the federal court to issue an order to have Glover transferred to ACJ’s medical unit, where he would have more privileges, until his transfer to another facility is arranged. A copy of the legal complaint is available at this link.

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