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Connecticut State Prisoner Settles with DOC, Receives Cash and Art Supplies

Ian Cooke, a Connecticut state prisoner, filed a federal action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 to protest his lack of medical and psychiatric treatment while he was in custody awaiting trial, has settled with the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) and will receive cash and art supplies. Cooke had alleged that while he was held in solitary confinement under suicide watch, DOC healthcare personnel failed to get him necessary mental health counseling and medication.

Cooke had been incarcerated at McDougall Correctional Institution in Connecticut since 2006 and on two separate occasions prior to the incident complained of had been placed on suicide watch. In 2010, he was again placed on suicide watch, during which time he intentionally burned areas on both his left and right arms on the baseboard heater located in his cell. Jail staff took no immediate action, despite noting that he was depressed and apparently wished to harm himself.

Although some jail medical and psychology personnel noted Cooke's deteriorating medical condition, Dr. Beaulieu indicated in his report that he was probably "malingering." Cooke received no specialized treatment, medication, or referral to any mental health unit at this time.

Finally, Cooke was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Clonodine, and after a short period of time was deemed medically fit to return to the jail's general population. He filed suit two years later after filing administrative remedies protesting the lack of proper mental health treatment, including the failure to prescribe anti-psychotic drugs in a timely fashion, failure to refer him for outside mental health treatment, and failure of the staff to react to his two incidents of self-harm.

After two years of litigation the Connecticut DOC and Cooke settled, with Cooke receiving $7,000, as well as a one-time supply of various art supplies from the artist supply house Dick Blick, Inc., including sketchbooks, colored pencils, and water color painting materials. See: Cooke v. Coleman, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, 12-cv-00307, October 28, 2014.

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Related legal case

Cooke v. Coleman