Geography: Kansas

Court: US District Court - District of Kansas

Claim(s): Conditions of confinement; Competency

Case Summary

Glendening et. al v. Howard et. al is a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of individuals currently being held pretrial while on the waitlist for an evaluation or treatment bed at Larned State Hospital. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) runs the forensic unit at Larned State Hospital, and has for years used a waitlist for bed space in the unit.

In December 2021, the average wait time for competency evaluations and restoration treatment for people facing criminal charges was 11 months, with instances of wait times as long as 13 months. While on the waitlist, individuals are held in jail and not receiving the comprehensive mental health care treatment they need. In some instances these delays are so severe that an individual may spend more time waiting in jail for an evaluation or treatment bed, pretrial, than they would face in prison if they were convicted.

Due to limited staff capacity Larned is using only about 78 of its 120 beds, further delaying evaluation and treatment of individuals being held in pretrial detention.

While awaiting an evaluation of this nature from KDADS, an individual’s criminal proceedings are paused: further extending their time and entanglement in the legal system. Often these individuals are suffering from acute mental health issues and are placed in solitary confinement without access to vital psychiatric treatment.

We, along with our co-counsel ACLU-KS and Stinton LLP, believe these absurd wait times, as well as the completely insufficient care individuals receive while waiting for evaluation and treatment, violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Kansas Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. As such, we are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to reduce these unconstitutional, unlawful and health-deteriorating wait times for evaluations and treatment.

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