Vt. settles suit by jailed mental health patient

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont has agreed to pay $35,000 to a man who was psychotic but was sent to prison for a week due to a lack of space in the mental health system, and ended up being pepper-sprayed three times while incarcerated.

Disability Rights Vermont, the federally contracted group that looks out for the rights of people in Vermont's mental health system, says Randall Corkins was incarcerated at the Southern State Correctional Facility last year after a judge had ordered he undergo a mental health evaluation.

Disability Rights supervising attorney A.J. Ruben says Corkins was pepper-sprayed not because he was threatening violence to prison staff, but because he was refusing to move.

The state is paying the settlement, but is denying liability or wrongdoing.

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