- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

DENVER (AP) - The federal government has agreed to pay $175,000 to the family of an inmate who argued that the prison system failed to treat his obvious mental illness before he killed himself inside the nation’s highest-security lockup.

Relatives of Robert Knott, 48, said in a lawsuit that officials at the Supermax prison in southern Colorado allowed him to languish for more than a decade in solitary confinement without proper treatment for his schizophrenia and other problems.

Corrections officers ignored signs that Knott, who was serving a life sentence for a kidnapping spree, was deteriorating in the weeks before he hanged himself in September 2013, according to the lawsuit.

Prison officials did not acknowledge guilt as part of the settlement reached in February, The Denver Post reported Monday (http://dpo.st/1pb4cOI ). The federal Bureau of Prisons does not comment on litigation or settlements, agency spokesman Justin Long said.

The treatment of mentally ill inmates at Supermax has been highly scrutinized since a group of prisoners sued in 2012, alleging widespread mistreatment. Prison officials made changes following that separate lawsuit.

Knott’s suicide came after six other Supermax inmates killed themselves, according to his family’s lawsuit. Others had attempted suicide by swallowing razor blades and cutting themselves, it said.

Knott experienced severe anxiety after being told he would be moved to a psychiatric prison in Atlanta where he would be held with other prisoners, his family said. Despite his screaming, refusal to eat and other symptoms, guards did not place him on suicide watch, allowing him to hang himself with a bedsheet, the lawsuit said.

Attorney Kathryn Stimson, who represented Knott’s family, called his death “another tragic example of our government’s mistreatment of the mentally ill.”

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