Roger Mason is a man in his fifties, with schizophrenia. On August 18, 2009, Mr. Mason was arrested and placed in Tangipahoa Parish Prison. Despite clear evidence of Mr. Mason's mental illness, the prison staff provided grossly inadequate care to him for 5 months. Without treatment, Mr. Mason became increasingly psychotic and delusional and suffered significant physical injuries.

Mr. Mason was found incompetent to stand trial and was transferred to Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in January 2010. He arrived in a filthy jumpsuit with a strip of rag tied around his right wrist. A stench issued from his wrist which appeared infected and which emitted a green discharge. The rag was embedded in Mr. Mason's arm, with skin growing over the rag in places. Mr. Mason also had an ulcerous wound on the right side of his back and fractured ribs. These wounds were obviously long standing and had been left untreated during his months of imprisonment.

On January 24, 2011, the Advocacy Center and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a lawsuit against Tangipahoa Parish officials alleging that their failure to provide Mr. Mason with necessary psychiatric care mental health medication is a violation of his rights under the 14th Amendment. In addition, the suit alleges that Mr. Mason suffered discrimination on the basis of his disability and that parish and prison officials were negligent of their responsibilities to Mr. Mason under state law.

 

Attorney(s)

Katie M. Schwartzmann, Miranda Tait, Ronald K. Lospennato, Sarah Hall Voight

Date filed

January 25, 2011

Court

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Status

Victory!

Stay informed

ACLU of Louisiana is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National