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Testimony on Fluvanna Prison Settlement Heard in Federal Court

Posted: Updated: Nov 23, 2015 05:54 PM

Several women prisoners have said they are facing cruel and unusual punishment at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

On Monday they appeared in federal court in Charlottesville. These women say they want their human rights back in the form of adequate medical care.

They are being represented by the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville.

In July 2012 five women filed a class action suit against the correctional center. They have since reached an agreement with the Virginia Department of Corrections. The terms of the settlement included procedural changes that will accommodate women with disabilities, give timely access to medications, and access to specialists if needed. 

A federal judge reviewed the settlement Monday, and heard testimonies from three of the women, who say they're not getting the proper medication they were prescribed for seizures, blood clots and breast cancer prevention.

“I think it's really just a human rights issue.  Everybody deserves to have a minimal level of care, even though they are prisoners. And they will all sit up as some of them did today and say I did something wrong but that doesn't mean that I should be left to die here.  I should be able to receive decent treatment for the problems I have,” said Brenda Castañeda of Legal Aid Justice Center.

Castaneda added that she assumes the judge will approve the settlement and that it will go into effect at the beginning of next year.  

By law, the judge must wait until December 21 to make the decision. He did close Monday by calling some of the medical problems described by witnesses as 'egregious.'

If the settlement is approved, the medical services at Fluvanna Correction Center for Women would be overhauled and subject to regular compliance monitoring.

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