Maryland prison officials gave out broken wheelchairs, made single-leg amputee shower with no support: Lawsuit

Six former and current inmates said that not only are most of the places inside the prison inaccessible via wheelchair, but the prison guards are also outright indifferent to their plight.


                            Maryland prison officials gave out broken wheelchairs, made single-leg amputee shower with no support: Lawsuit
The complainant said he was forced to bathe without any support for his condition and that it led him to get injured severely. (Getty Images)

A lawsuit has claimed that the Maryland prison system ignores the Americans with Disabilities Act and threatened to retaliate if grievances were filed, reported the Baltimore Sun.

Six former and current inmates have said that not only are most places inside the prison inaccessible via wheelchair, but the prison guards are also outright indifferent to their plight.

According to the suit, prison guards made a one-legged man shower with no support, thus not complying with the Disabilities Act. Karl Rogers, who is a single-leg amputee and one of the men who filed the suit, said he was forced to bathe without any support for his condition and that it led him to get injured severely. Rogers said he was not allowed to enter the prison facility in his wheelchair, which "does not have handicapped showers, handrails, anti-slip guards or shower chairs for disabled prisoners."

"Consequently, MRDCC staff forced Mr Rogers to hop on one leg in and out of the shower facilities on wet floors," says the suit, according to the Sun. "MRDCC staff also refused to allow Mr Rogers to bring his forearm crutches or any other assistive devices into the shower with him, despite the... risk of harm." He was then sent to Jessup's Dorsey Run Correctional Facility (DRCF), which DPSCS represented to be a fully ADA-compliant facility.

However, the prison gave out broken wheelchairs, claims the lawsuit, adding that "he had significant difficulty with even the most basic activities of daily living because of DRCF’s lack of handicap accessibility." The Administrative Remedy Procedure coordinator at Dorsey Run also “expressly told Mr Rogers to stop filing grievances about the facility’s ADA non-compliance or else he would be punished," the suit says.

Filed in a Baltimore district court by the inmates who were housed in different places in Maryland, the federal lawsuit is suing the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services along with various prison officials.

The Attorney General’s Office, which is defending the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, refused to comment.

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