Prisons, advocacy group reach agreement in mental health lawsuit Advocacy group for mentally ill prisoners declines mediation talks with corrections department Judge won't revisit SC inmate mental health ruling SC prisons agency appeals mental health ruling

Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling.

COLUMBIA - South Carolina's prisons agency is appealing a ruling on how to deal with mental health treatment behind bars.

The Corrections Department late last week filed a notice it was appealing a ruling by Circuit Judge Michael Baxley.

Earlier this year, Baxley sided with inmates who, along with an independent nonprofit group called Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, sued the Corrections Department in 2005.

His ruling chided the Corrections Department for failures in areas including screening new inmates for mental health problems, properly administering medication and preventing suicide Baxley gave the agency six months to come up with a plan on how to deal with better serving its mentally ill inmates.

Baxley in March denied Corrections' request that he reconsider his ruling.