AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Force-Feeding of Prisoners
Monthly Law Journal Article: Forced Feeding or Medication of Prisoners, 2007 (12) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Detainees at Guantanamo
Bay who were cleared for release but remain detained there went on a hunger
strike demanding their release, and were force fed. A federal appeals court
held that they had the right to challenge the conditions of their confinement
in a habeas corpus proceeding, and that their claims were not barred by
the Military Commissions Act. The prisoners, however, failed to establish
that they were entitled to a preliminary injunction against the forced
feeding, since it served legitimate penological interests in preserving
the lives of the detainees and maintaining security and discipline. They
failed to show a likelihood that the force-feeding was unconstitutional.
The court also ruled that the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act did not apply to the detainees. As nonresident aliens, they were not
protected persons under the statute. Aamer v. Obama, #13-5223, 2014 U.S.
App. Lexis 2513 (D.C. Cir.).
The highest court in New York has ruled that it did not violate a prisoner's rights to issue a judicial order allowing him to be force fed via a nasogastric tube when his hunger strike caused his health to deteriorate to the point that his condition was believed to be life threatening. Bezio v. Dorsey, #65, 2013 N.Y. Lexis 859, 2013 NY Slip Op 3118.
Prison officials did not violate inmate's constitutional rights by force-feeding him after he refused to eat for nine days. Appeals court upholds jury's determination that prisoner's fast was not for religious reasons. Introduction of evidence of prisoner's robbery convictions to impeach his testimony was, at most, harmless error. Walker v. Horn, No. 03-1896, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 20379 (3rd Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Nov]
Injunction allowing the force-feeding of an Illinois prisoner to keep him alive was justified by evidence that prisoner's purpose in staging his hunger strike was protesting the conditions of his confinement and attempting to manipulate correctional officials. People of Illinois ex rel. Department of Corrections v. Fort, No. 4-03-0661, 2004 Ill. App. Lexis 1125 (4th Dist. 2004). [2004 JB Nov]
Prison officials were granted permission to force feed an inmate who went on hunger strike for three weeks at the point where his hunger strike becomes threatening to his life. The prisoner stopped eating because he said he was upset about his daughter's death, and the court granted prison authorities the right to monitor his condition through blood tests and to feed him intravenously or through a feeding tube at the point that his life is in jeopardy. In Re Robert Weeks, Circuit Court, Livingston County, Ill., reported in The Chicago Tribune, p. 13 (Jan. 26, 2002). [N/R]
Quadriplegic prisoner in California had a right to refuse to submit to feeding and medication, even if it meant his death; California Supreme Court rules that right to refuse treatment and food does not depend on prisoner's condition being terminal. Thor v. Superior Court (Andrew), 21 Cal.Rptr.2d 357, 855 P.2d 375 (Cal. 1993).
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