Virginia inmates to court: Forbid `dehumanizing conditions’

PrisonRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s death row inmates say they fear the expanded privileges they recently received are only temporary and are asking a judge to forbid the state from reinstating what they consider to be “dehumanizing conditions.” Prison officials overhauled Virginia’s death row policies this year after several inmates sued the state. Officials granted the seven men awaiting execution more recreation time, among other things. But the inmates’ attorneys say unless the court intervenes, there’s nothing stopping officials from rolling back those changes and reinstating restrictions that they argue amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials reject the inmates’ claim that their prior treatment was unconstitutional. Furthermore, they’ve asked the judge to rule in their favor, saying a trial is unnecessary because the previous policies are no longer in effect.