Michigan prisoner loses right to have air mattress


A federal appeals court has deflated a Michigan prisoner's air mattress.

The court on Thursday overturned a 2013 order by a judge who told the state Corrections Department to let Richard Boone II use an air mattress to relieve pain.

In a 3-0 decision, the court said U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow didn't follow the correct procedure for an injunction. It also suggested Boone probably won't win his lawsuit over his overall care, another key factor in an injunction.

Boone, 45, is a convicted robber locked up at the Pugsley prison near Traverse City. His medical history includes a hip replacement and major leg surgery, and he said a private doctor had recommended an air mattress.

But officials took it away after six months, saying prison medical staff believed exercise and weight loss were better options.

Prison mattresses "are crappy," Assistant Attorney General Jim Farrell said in court last December. "No one wants to be on an MDOC mattress. Everybody wants an air mattress. It's a comfort issue. And, you know, if we give it to him for comfort purposes, we are going to have 44,000 prisoners asking for an air mattress."

Through his wife, Boone released a statement in October, saying he was willing to pay for a $39 mattress.

"All I am seeking is to be treated with some modicum of human decency ... and avoid the trap of falling back into active drug addiction from the use of narcotics for my pain," he said.

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