April 22, 2006 - Posted at 1:10 p.m. CST
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) _ The state prison board has approved a
policy against confining mentally ill inmates in small
``sensory-deprived'' cells that could worsen their mental
The Board of Correction approved the regulation after several
inmates at a high-security prison in Lincoln County were removed
from seven-by-eleven foot cells on the advice of a prison
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the inmates had been
kept in the stark furnishings for at least 23 hours a day because
there were no secure prison beds elsewhere in the system.
Wendy Kelley, the prison system's chief mental health official,
says the new policy prohibits actions that would worsen a mentally
ill inmate's condition. If the prisoner needs to be disciplined,
the punishment must not worsen that person's mental condition.