Judge: Mentally ill inmates should not be gassed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A federal court judge says two mentally ill Florida inmates were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when they were sprayed with chemical agents while causing a disturbance at Florida State Prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan in Jacksonville last week ordered prison officials and attorneys for mentally ill inmates to come up with a plan to address the use of chemical agents by the end of February.

Corrigan says while it is legal to use tear gas, pepper spray and other chemical agents on inmates, it is unconstitutional when an inmate's mental illness prevents him from conforming his behavior to the rules.

Department spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says officials are reviewing the judge's ruling.

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