University of Virginia Law School Team Aids Legal Effort to Improve Health Care at a Women’s Prison

Alumni and students from the University of Virginia School of Law were on a legal team that recently won an injunction against officials at the Virginia Department of Corrections. The ruling mandates that the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Troy, Virginia, provide adequate health care to its 1,200 female prisoners.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2012 by the Legal Aid Justice Center in association with the law firm Wiley Rein and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. The justice center announced it had reached a settlement in 2014, which Judge Norman K. Moon approved in 2016. However, after the settlement, multiple inmates experienced severe medical issues including chest pain, difficulty breathing, extreme weight changes, cancer, and reportedly did not receive adequate medical care. The legal team representing women at the prison filed contempt charges in September 2017, with the law firms Consumer Litigation Associates and Kelly & Crandall serving as attorneys for the plaintiffs. The recent ruling by Judge Moon orders the officials of the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women to comply with the 2016 settlement.

Shannon Ellis, a 2015 graduate of the university’s law school and current Powell Fellow at the Legal Aid Justice Center was among the team who worked on the case. “The state was willing to blame everyone else for their failures – the lawyers, the media, the settlement agreement, even the patients themselves,” Ellis said. “Today’s opinion flatly rejects the state’s attempts to point the finger elsewhere and confirms that the state has only itself to blame for the tragic state of health care at [the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.]”

The injunction orders officials to maintain a full-time staff of 78 nurses at the women’s prison, train them on dispensing and stocking medication, outfit the prison’s building with basic emergency equipment, and improve the medical grievance system, along with other measures.

Filed Under: Discrimination


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  1. Nivel Conley says:

    This is also happening at the male correctional facilities.
    Thank you for all the families that have benefited from this settlement

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