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Report: Settlement To Reduce Use Of Restraint, Confinement

A judge has given initial approval to the settlement of a class action lawsuit intended to improve the treatment of patients with mental illness at Bridgewater State Hospital.

The Boston Globe reports Tuesday that the settlement includes a reduction in the use of physical restraints and solitary confinement.

Roderick MacLeish, lead attorney for the patients, told the newspaper that the agreement will prevent the confinement of severely mentally ill patients to months of solitary confinement for what he called "trivial and illegal reasons."

The settlement allows Norfolk Superior Court Justice Paul Wilson to ensure the state is meeting its commitments for up to four years.

A spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley, who argued for the state in the lawsuit, declined comment.

The agreement could be finalized in late February.

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