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Last updateTue, 27 Aug 2019 12am







    Monday, August 26, 2019-8:43:16P.M.






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Inmate, Corrections to settle lawsuit

JERRY Ray, an inmate who sued the Department of Corrections and some of its officials for inadequate mental healthcare, among other claims, is no longer pursuing the lawsuit, saying they have reached a settlement agreement.

Ray’s attorney Jeanne H. Rayphand and the Office of the Attorney General have informed the federal court about their intention to dismiss with prejudice the civil litigation. “With prejudice” means that the lawsuit cannot be re-filed.

Both parties requested the District Court for the NMI to retain jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the settlement terms.

Ray named as defendants former Corrections Commissioner Vincent S. Attao, Director Gregory Castro, former acting Commissioner Georgia M. Cabrera, Capt. Pius P. Yaroitemal, operations commander David Deleon Guerrero and classification officer Cynthia B. Santos.

Earlier through a stipulation, Ray dismissed Pius P. Yaroitemal, and David Deleon Guerrero from the lawsuit.

In Jan. 2019, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted in part and denied in part the CNMI government’s motion for summary judgment.

Judge Manglona said Ray exhausted the administrative remedies with respect to his grievances, but not with respect to sanctions.

She denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to the judicial review of Ray’s grievances, but granted the sanctions.

Ray sued for damages over “unconstitutional ‘administrative segregation,’ isolation and solitary confinement for the period June 19, 2016 to June 27, 2017, and for the isolation and solitary confinement for the period June 27, 2017 to May 7, 2018 in the amount of $100 per day or an amount to be decided by the court.”

He also asked for damages “for the denial of psychiatric mental healthcare, including evaluation, treatment, medication and counseling.”

A repeat offender, Ray has been in prison since 2012 after being convicted of burglary.

According to the settlement agreement, Corrections will provide Ray with continuing mental health evaluations, treatment care or counseling with other competent health professional on a regular basis and on an as-needed or emergency basis.

Corrections will not subject Ray to any form of solitary confinement, isolation, or administrative segregation and or loss of privileges contrary to the recommendations of a psychiatrist, a medical doctor or mental health professional.

In addition, Corrections will not impose any form of sanctions until pertinent regulations are published with input from the NMI Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.

Corrections will not put Ray on restraints in any “punitive fashion,” but “restraints are allowable as measures of inmate and staff safety.”

Moreover, Ray will not be denied the privilege of telephone calls and visitation with his family members for more than 15 days in succession, unless imposed as a safety measure.

Ray will also be provided by Corrections with outside work assignments, indoor and outdoor recreational activity and at least an hour of “fresh air” daily.

Moreover, Corrections will provide Ray with the opportunity to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

Corrections likewise agreed to continue to review its policies regarding grievances, sanctions, appeals, administrative segregation and stepdown policy procedures and continue its efforts to clarify and develop consistent policies that do not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Within 30 days of the effective date of the agreement, Corrections will pay Ray $500 for expenses incurred in the lawsuit.