Attorneys for the D.C. Public Defender service and the U.S. Attorney's Office have reached a formal agreement, submitted to U.S. District Court, for treatment and supervision of 68 Cuban refugees currently detained at St. Elizabeths Hospital.
The agreement, effective immediately, followed the filing of a lawsuit in federal court by the public defender in which it was alleged that some of the Cubans housed at the mental hospital were being made to take drugs without their consent.
Both sides in the case have agreed to a set of policies and procedures involving medication, seclusion and restraint of any of the refugees.
The agreement states that psychiatric medication will be administered only with the consent of the patient except in emergency situations in which the patient could be a danger to himself or others.
About 100 Cubans were transferred to St. Elizabeths from refugee camps on Oct. 14. But 19 of them were moved to other federal facilities after an Oct. 19 disturbance there. Some other refugees have since returned to the camps or left the hospital to live with private sponsors.
Judge John Garrett Penn has under advisement the Cubans' additional contention that they are being illegally detained at St. Elizabeths.