A federal jury has awarded a man who was kept in solitary confinement for two years twenty-two million dollars. He was awarded this large amount of money because he was forced to pull his own tooth. He was in jail after being arrested for drunk driving. The man, Stephen Slevin, age fifty-eight, was awarded the money after a six day trail that took place in Santa Fe.
There is no word yet as to whether the county will appeal the decision or not but they believe that they have some very strong legal issues they want to raise with the appeal if they do file one. The man was arrested in August 2005 while driving through southern New Mexico. The reason that he ended up in solitary confinement was because he was suffering from depression and because the box on the form saying that he was suicidal was accidentally checked.
He was given medicine to help treat his depression but never did see a mental health professional although he requested to see one for months. By 2006 he had fallen into delirium and remained there for twenty months. In 2007 he was sent to a mental health facility for two weeks but then he came back to solitary confinement.
He sent a letter asking for medical care but did not receive any so for eight hours he rocked his tooth back and forth until he was able to pull it out. He was released in June 2007 without ever being convicted. While in jail he had symptoms of mental depression but the jail claims that was not the issue. The man was stuck in a six foot by eleven foot cell using a concrete bench for a bed and did not get out for anything except that one trip to the mental facility for two years.