This from today's Guardian (UK):
Payout for 'cold turkey' inmates
[FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif]Riazat Butt and agencies
Monday November 13, 2006
[/FONT]Drug-addicted prisoners and former inmates who claim their human rights were breached when they were forced to go "cold turkey" will receive undisclosed compensation this week. The six prisoners and former prisoners are suing the Home Office, claiming that the drug withdrawal treatment they were put through amounted to assault because they did not consent to it. They also allege clinical negligence.
The case is scheduled to start today at the high court, but the charity Drugscope says the Prison Service is on the verge of settling out of court. The size of compensation will be finalised by mid-week.
A high court judge, Mr Justice Langstaff, gave the go-ahead in May for a full hearing of the case, which focuses on six test cases chosen from a pool of 198 claimants. A barrister for the claimants, Richard Hermer, told the court at the time: "Imposing the short, sharp detoxification is the issue."
When the test case is resolved this week, all 198 may be compensated by the Prison Service. The shadow home secretary, David Davis, said the case set a "disastrous" precedent and accused the home secretary, John Reid, of failing to protect the public. "Presumably the government does not want to be embarrassed by losing such a case under its own human rights legislation. This would be a massive failure of political nerve by Mr Reid and a massive failure in his duty to protect the public."
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