Judge tells Florida prison system: You can’t harass inmates just for complaining

A federal judge granted a protective order on Monday to inmates suing the Florida Department of Corrections and its secretary, Mark Inch, for what they say are unconstitutional isolation practices.

The inmates — housed in isolation at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, Florida State Prison, Lowell Correctional Institution and the Reception and Medical Center, a prison hospital — filed for the protective order. They said they experienced intimidation and reprisals from prison staff for getting involved in Harvard v. Inch, the case brought against FDC by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida Legal Services and the Florida Justice Institute.

“Retaliation and threats of retaliation of any kind relating to an inmate’s participation in the ongoing discovery and/or civil litigation will not be tolerated,” U.S. Judge Martin Fitzpatrick wrote in his order.

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