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Legal Aid Justice Center - Scott v. Clarke Press Release, Medical Care at Fluvanna Prison, 2017

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Brenda Castañeda, Esq.
Legal Aid Justice Center
Charlottesville, Va., September 6, 2017—
Women incarcerated at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) filed a
motion for contempt in the Federal District Court in Charlottesville on Wednesday, asking the
court to enforce a class action Settlement Agreement decided upon last year. The agreement,
approved by Judge Norman K. Moon on February 5, 2016, requires supervision of the medical
care systems at the prison by an independent Compliance Monitor for at least three years. The
women charge that FCCW continues to fail to provide constitutionally adequate medical care in
violation of the agreement.
The women, represented by lawyers at Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC), Wiley Rein
LLP, and The Washington Lawyers’ Committee (WLC), contend that the Monitor’s reports
reflect a disturbing, continuing resistance by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) to
implement needed changes to the medical care system at FCCW. Given this resistance, counsel
for the women believe court intervention is necessary to protect their clients’ lives.
In their motion, the women recount the horrific results of VDOC and FCCW’s failure to
provide adequate care. A woman with Stage IV melanoma cancer was left to suffer debilitating,
painful side effects from immunotherapy after a prison doctor said she simply had a sinus
infection and ordered a nasal spray. By the time FCCW rushed her to UVA Medical Center, she
was septic. Another woman, Sherry Richburg, recounts how FCCW failed to adequately treat a
fungal infection in her leg resulting from an earlier surgery. As a result, and since her release,
Ms. Richburg’s leg has been amputated up to her hip. Ms. Richburg says, “Not only was I
punished for my crime, I was punished a second time when FCCW denied me critical medical
“Although we were hopeful that VDOC would create meaningful change to the health
care system at Fluvanna prison after the Settlement, we are disturbed to learn of continued severe
suffering the prisoners experience,” Ted Howard, an attorney from Wiley Rein for the Plaintiffs
in the case, said. “VDOC continues to fall far short on its legal obligations to provide adequate
health care to the women at FCCW. As a result, we are filing this Court action to protect our
clients’ rights and their health.”

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Brenda Castañeda of Legal Aid Justice Center added, “It’s outrageous that we continue to
hear about VDOC’s neglect and mismanagement from the women at FCCW. Virginia spends
over a billion dollars a year on DOC expenditures, yet the health and well-being of the tens of
thousands of women and men the state choses to lock away is still under threat. It’s well past
time for Virginia to consider whether it should continue to imprison so many of its residents, if in
doing so, the state cannot comply with the constitutional mandate to provide them with adequate
medical care.”
The women of Fluvanna request the Court find that VDOC disobeyed the court and order
VDOC and medical staff at FCCW to abide by the Settlement terms requiring improvements to
medical care. In addition, the women are requesting that the Judge sanction the Defendants by
ordering VDOC to pay monetary fines and that Defendants be ordered to submit a
comprehensive report on how they will meet their obligations under the Settlement Agreement.
About the Legal Aid Justice Center
The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while
rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact
litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as
housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary
service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, Richmond and Petersburg, but the effects of
their work are felt statewide.
About Wiley Rein
Wiley Rein LLP is a leading law firm with offices in Washington, DC and Northern
Virginia. Wiley Rein is a dominant presence in Washington, DC, with more than 270 attorneys
and public policy advisors. Wiley Rein has earned international prominence by representing
clients in complex, high-stakes regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters.
About The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
From its inception in 1968, the mission of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
and Urban Affairs has been to mobilize the resources of the private bar to address issues of civil
rights violations and poverty in our community. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee provides
pro bono representation in a broad range of civil rights and related poverty issues
impacting every group protected by our federal, state and local civil rights laws.
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