PORTLAND, Maine — A class action suit alleging that prisoners are being denied hepatitis C treatment in order to contain medical costs has been filed against the Maine Department of Corrections.
The suit, filed Wednesday, says infected inmates aren’t treated until the progressive disease has caused permanent liver damage.
Court documents said 580 Maine prisoners are infected as of 2017, but only three have received treatment.
The suit alleges the practice violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and inmates’ rights. It seeks a change in state policy to treat all infected prisoners.
The three-month treatment often costs tens of thousands of dollars.
Hepatitis C is a communicable blood-borne infection of the liver that is chronic in most cases.
State and corrections officials either didn’t respond to requests for comment or said they were unable to discuss the suit.