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Lawsuit: State prisoners with hepatitis C denied treatment

DENVER — The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has filed a federal lawsuit aimed at pressuring the state Department of Corrections to expand treatment for prisoners with hepatitis C.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Monday that the civil rights group says as many as 2,200 prisoners suffer from the life-threatening illness.

Mark Silverstein, legal director for the liberties union of Colorado, says complications from the disease kill nearly as many Coloradans in custody every year as drug and alcohol abuse, homicide and suicide combined.

Silverstein says effective treatment for hepatitis C is available, but the state department’s “cruel and arbitrary standards deny that treatment to all but a select few prisoners.”

The Department of Corrections states it has cared for 80 prisoners with new treatments throughout the past two years and is working to expand.
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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com

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