By KATE BRUMBACK
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Corrections officials have agreed to improve conditions for prisoners held in Georgia's most restrictive solitary confinement facility.

The changes are part of a proposed settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed by prisoners held in the Special Management Unit of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

An expert's report filed by lawyers for the prisoners said the conditions deprived prisoners of basic human needs and risked causing psychological harm. Psychology professor Craig Haney wrote that he had toured maximum-security prisons in roughly two dozen states and that the Georgia unit was "one of the harshest and most draconian" he has seen.

The agreement says prisoners will be allowed out of their cells at least four hours a day and will rarely be housed in the unit longer than two years.

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