On Wednesday, the ACLU of Alaska filed in court to protect the due process rights of incarcerated people, like our client Mark Andrews, who are subject to the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) egregious and unlawful involuntary medication policy.
“For at least five years, Mr. Andrews lost the freedom of his own mind, emotions, and thoughts,” said ACLU of Alaska Attorney Melody Vidmar. “He was held down. He was handcuffed. And over-and-over again, DOC forcibly injected him with psychotropic medication that can have long-lasting detrimental side effects. All of this was done without the protection of his fundamental right to due process.”
Incarcerated people similarly situated to Mr. Andrews are subject to the same unlawful process according to DOC’s policy.
“By DOC’s own account, 65 percent of the incarcerated population have a diagnosed mental illness and 22 percent have a severe and persistent mental illness. Considering these staggering statistics, the treatment of our client, DOC’s revised policy regarding involuntary medication, and the growing list of medical-related issues being brought to the attention of the Alaska Prison Project, we are gravely concerned and cannot underscore enough the liberty interest at stake in Mr. Andrews case,” said ACLU of Alaska Prison Project Director Megan Edge.
The ACLU of Alaska is seeking the following from the court:
- A declaratory judgment that DOC and its leadership’s continued forced medication of Mr. Andrews is contrary to law.
- A declaratory judgment that DOC’s July 22 involuntary medication policy unconstitutionally violates procedural due process.
- An order that, before administering any psychotropic medication against his will, Mr. Andrews be provided a judicial hearing to ensure he is not medicated without due process.
- As well as, a declaration that Mr. Andrews prevailed, is a public interest litigant and that he be awarded costs associated with litigation and other relief as the court deems just and equitable.