District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has ordered Montana State Prison officials to keep teenage prisoner Raistlen Katka out of solitary confinement. The judge also prohibited the Montana Department of Corrections from placing Raistlen in any sort of behaivior management plan (BMP) that deprives him of contact.
You may remember that Raistlen is the teenage prisoner the ACLU of Montana has been representing since 2009, when at the age of 16 he was placed in solitary confinement and subjected to BMPs that deprived him of clothing, plumbing, and dignity. At that time we referred to him as Robert Doe since he was still a minor.
Raistlen, suffering from mental illness suffered greatly under these conditions. On multiple occasions, he tried to kill himself -- by cutting himself with a razor, by attempted hanging and even by biting through his own wrists to puncture the veins.
It's a sad story, but the ending is now looking promising.
Since he was released from solitary confinement, Raistlen has steadily improved. He earned his GED and is in vocational training.
Amazing what recognizing prisoners' constitutional rights and treating them with dignity can accomplish!