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$300,000 settlement in outrageous Colorado prison abuse case

Denver, CO – The Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a prison abuse lawsuit brought by a diabetic prisoner who was deprived of insulin at the ADX Florence facility.

In 2004, Seifullah Chapman, a member of the so-called “Paintball Jihad” network in northern Virginia, was convicted of conspiring to commit a terrorist offense against the United States and sentenced to 85 years in prison. He was incarcerated at ADX Florence between 2010 and 2015, where his medical needs were repeatedly ignored. Chapman has a severe form of Type 1 diabetes, but was denied the adequate amount of insulin he needs, which put him at risk for severe medical complications, including coma and death,

According to his lawyers, the medical professionals at the facility were well aware of his situation, but acted with negligence and complete indifference to his suffering.

In one episode, when Chapman was going through a bout of hyperglycemia, one physician’s assistant waited three hours before bringing him the insulin he needed. A hyperglycemia episode can be extremely painful. “Blood feels like it’s on fire,”  Chapman explained. When he complained, the assistant brushed him off saying “It’s not my problem, it’s not my fault.” Another member of the medical staff also downplayed his complaints, telling the prisoner he’d known another person who had extremely high blood sugar and survived.

After being treated worse than an animal, Seifullah Chapman was released in 2018, when a federal judge overturned his terrorism conviction.

ADX Florence is a federal maximum-security prison housing inmates considered to be particularly dangerous, such as Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski or Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh. Over time, there have been numerous complaints about the dehumanizing treatment inside the Supermax facility. Prisoners spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in a small concrete cell.

A former warden at the prison, Robert Hood, described ADX Florence as “a fate worse than death” that was “not built for humanity.

How is prison abuse defined?

The treatment Chapman was subjected to constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” and represents a violation of prisoners’ rights under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution

The 8th Amendment states: 

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” 

While serving their sentence, prisoners are deprived of certain freedoms, but they don’t lose their basic human rights. They have the right to live free from abuse, including:

  • Physical/sexual abuse by prison guards
  • The use of intimidation or terror (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually) by prison guards
  • The use of excessive force by prison guards
  • Failure or neglect of prison guards to protect prisoners from abuse by other prisoners
  • Failure to provide an inmate with necessary medical care
  • Use of starvation as an intimidation tool 
  • Preventing inmates from practicing religion
  • Racial discrimination. 

When an inmate is subjected to any form of abuse they can file a civil rights lawsuit, but not before exhausting administrative complaint remedies. The best thing to do is talk to an experienced Denver prison litigation lawyer. If the case goes to trial, your lawyers will need to present ample proof documenting the abuse. In a case of medical neglect, they may need to bring independent medical experts to testify on certain conditions, the medication and care required and the consequences of failing to provide the inmate with adequate treatment. 

If you were the victim of any type of abuse while in jail or prison, contact a reliable lawyer at the Bryan & Terrill law firm in Denver.

Contact info

Bryan & Terrill Law Firm

333 W. Hampden Ave., #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

(720) 923-2333

Source: Constitution Annotated 

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