David Wade Correctional Center

The David Wade Correctional Center in Claiborne Parish 

SHREVEPORT, La. -- A trial is underway in a Shreveport federal court in a lawsuit brought by advocates for dozens of inmates at David Wade Correctional Center.

The suit -- which alleges prison officials do not properly screen, diagnose or provide treatment for mentally ill inmates -- was granted class-action, meaning the plaintiffs can seek improvements in conditions for several hundred people who allege inhumane treatment at the prison in Claiborne Parish.

Some inmates at Wade have been held in solitary confinement for months and sometimes years, causing or exacerbating mental health problems, attorneys for the inmates said. Some have resorted to self-mutilation and suicide attempts, they said.

State officials are fighting the suit.

The bench trial, being held virtually before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote, is expected to last up to a month.

The number of inmates seeking relief unclear, but Foote said there were 366 people being held at the buildings in question in March 2020.

The suit was brought by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and Disability Rights Louisiana.

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