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Connecticut May Force Feed Prisoners on Hunger Strike

 The state of Connecticut has the right to force feed a prisoner engaged in a hunger strike, Jarres T. Graham, Superior Court Judge, so held.

            William Coleman, a Connecticut prisoner, went on hunger strike to protest his sexual assault conviction and a custody dispute over his children. Coleman’s hunger strike was longer than most, running some four months, with Coleman subsisting largely off milk, juice, and water. Coleman lost 90 pounds over the four month period.

            Fearing Coleman’s fate of the hunger strike was allowed to continue, the state of Connecticut sought a temporary injunction authorizing the force feeding of Coleman. The court granted the injunction. Although the Supreme Court has recognized a competent individual’s right to refuse life-saving medical treatment, that right was trumped in Coleman’s case by the State of Connecticut’s need to maintain order and security in its prisons, the court held. See: Lantz v. Coleman, 2008 Conn Supper. Lexis 1377.

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Related legal case

Lantz v. Coleman