SC appeals inmate case, tries mental health fixes

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Civil liberties advocates say the South Carolina Department of Corrections shouldn't challenge a court order that the agency come up with a plan to better deal with mentally ill inmates.

But prisons officials say they're sticking with their decision to appeal — while continuing to work on fixes they hope will improve the situation.

Corrections is appealing a judge's decision in favor of mentally ill inmates who sued the agency in 2005. The inmates described conditions such as overreliance on tactics like isolation and pepper spray.

Mental health advocates say more proceedings just mean more money spent in court and not on inmates. But Corrections says it's trying fixes such as reducing time spent by mentally ill inmates in isolation units.

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