On April 21, 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina and international law firm Arnold & Porter filed a federal lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s failure to protect incarcerated people from risks associated with a COVID-19 outbreak in custodial settings. Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A) also joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff on behalf of incarcerated people with disabilities. Defendants named in the suit are Governor Henry McMaster, South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling, and members of the South Carolina Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The suit seeks immediate relief for incarcerated people who are at particular risk of serious harm or death from COVID-19, including those who have serious underlying medical conditions, developmental disabilities or mental conditions or who are 50 years of age or older. Additionally, the suit seeks further reduction in the prison population through release of people who are within six months of their anticipated release date, eligible for parole and disciplinary free for the past year, or in custody for technical violations of parole or probation.


Susan K. Dunn, Shirene C. Hansotia, Jonathan W. Hughes

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Arnold & Porter

Date filed

April 21, 2020


United States District Court, District of South Carolina, Charleston Division


Donald C. Coggins, Jr. and Kaymani D. West