Inmate appeals feeding order

January 09, 1998


Staff Writer

A prisoner on a four-year hunger strike to protest his incarceration is challenging a preliminary order allowing prison officials to force-feed him.

On Monday, Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III granted a preliminary injunction allowing officials at Roxbury Correctional Institution to tube-feed Warren D. Stevenson. On Thursday, Stevenson's attorney filed a notice with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Stevenson, 45, has not had solid food since 1994. While serving a 25-year sentence for burglary in Jessup, Md., Stevenson consumed only liquids - including extra milk provided by prison officials - to protest what he said was an illegal prosecution.


His health began to deteriorate after he was transferred to the Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown last March. Prison officials there made no special provisions for Stevenson, saying he had to eat the same food offered to other inmates.

Since his transfer to RCI on March 7, Stevenson has consumed only milk, juice, coffee, tea and water.

He collapsed during a routine physical exam on Dec. 12, which prompted prison officials to seek a temporary order allowing them to give intravenous treatment and nutrition supplements.

Wright granted a preliminary injunction on Monday, allowing officials to insert a tube in Wright's nose or stomach if necessary, until a hearing could be held to debate the merits of a permanent injunction.

A hearing on the appeal will probably not be held before a hearing for the injunction. It could take at least 60 days, more likely 90 days, before there's an argument with the court of special appeals, said Stephen Meehan, deputy principal counsel for Prisoner Rights Information System of Maryland Inc.

"We just want to get the ball rolling," Meehan said.

Meehan said they plan to file another appeal Monday with the Maryland Court of Appeals. If three of seven judges agree to take the issue up, special appeals won't have to decide it, Meehan said.

The Herald-Mail Articles