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Lawsuit Challenges State Use Of Solitary For Death Row

Florida Department of Corrections
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A federal lawsuit is challenging Florida's policy of isolating all death row prison inmates in solitary confinement indefinitely.

The lawsuit was filed in Jacksonville federal court on behalf of nine inmates who have been held in solitary for between four and 30 years. It seeks to represent all Florida death row prisoners, who totaled 363 on Thursday.

The Florida Department of Corrections policy violates the Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment and guarantee of due process, according to the lawsuit. It asks a judge to prohibit the department from keeping death row inmates in solitary except for limited periods and for justified reasons.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Louisiana, California, Arizona, New York and New Jersey.

A corrections spokeswoman said the lawsuit would be reviewed.