California state prison officials filed documents in federal court on April 3, 2015 outlining a significant change in the state’s policy regarding discipline for prisoners with serious mental illness.  The new policies will move away from punishment for prisoners who have disciplinary issues.  RBGG partner Michael Bien, who represents mentally ill prisoners in the Coleman v. Brown case was quoted extensively in an AP story on April 3, “CDCR to ease punishment for mentally ill inmates who act out because of their illness.”

“This is a very significant reform of the disciplinary process for prisoners with mental illness,” said Bien.  “What’s the point of punishing someone who’s psychotic?” . . . .”He’s refusing orders or flailing around, which is the kind of thing that psychotic people do,” Bien said of the sort of behavior that has brought disciplinary action in the past. “When you bang on your cell or mouth off at your custody officer, let’s talk about that. … Don’t punish him and send him somewhere else.”

More about Coleman v. Brown here: