Health

How California shuffles its mentally ill prisoners

Since his 20s, Collier has been arrested several times in Oregon for exposing himself, a crime that would land him in prison in California. In Oregon, Collier was found “guilty of insanity” and transferred to Oregon State Hospital for five years in February 2007.

While there, Collier underwent surgery to treat back pain. Something went wrong – the screws of the spine caught. Then, according to medical records, Collier lived with extreme heat, which added to his stress. At the same time he knocked on the wall of his room at the state hospital and severely broke his arm.

In December 2011, Collier was discharged from Oregon State Hospital. For a few months, he lived at his mother’s house in McMinnville, a beer village on the outskirts of Portland. Next summer, Collier decided to move closer to his father’s family in Santa Cruz.

He was ready, he told his mother, to start.

How the system works – or backwards

Why does Adam Collier change so often?

Activists, prisoners and family members argue that, in conditions similar to his own, continuous migration reflects a system that often fails to take care of people in mental health crises. These inmates can bounce between prisons and makeshift beds without having to calm down to get well, they said. For some, ease in prison may lead to attacks on guards or other inmates.

A spokesman for Waters said in a statement that prisoners could be sent for a variety of reasons, including court hearings, nursing, mental health care, changes in security level, patient health, labor disputes, allegations of misconduct or paragraphs.

Six of California’s 34 prisons do not have mental health programs, she said, “so there is a need to refer patients who need ongoing mental health care.”

Physicians “are trained to diagnose and treat malignant neoplasms, and to meet the needs of patients,” Waters said.

Mental health care is provided in California prisons with a spectrum, designed to transfer inmates as their level of need changes. Treatments vary from inpatient care in the inmate community to long-term hospitalization in isolated areas in the rehabilitation process.

On the other hand, there are state hospitals, which are separate and accommodate people who are not in the legal system.

Suicide inmates should be evacuated immediately to a psychiatric ward, he said state mental health program leader. The beds are designed to last for 10 days and can only be extended by health officials.

But the system does not always work correctly. Sometimes people in need are not pushed to a higher level of care, the Inspector General has determined in many investigations.

State physicians are trained to diagnose and treat acute myocardial infarction, and to tailor care to individual patient needs.

Vicky Waters, Department of Corrections and Repairs

Sometimes counselors come too late.

In 2019, psychiatrists failed to assess the risk of suicide in a prison after learning of his mother’s death. They did not put him in a suicide watch or send him to bed with a mental illness, according to a report from the inspector general. Soon, he committed suicide.

Further worrying, the state and the country are facing a shortage of mental health professionals, which experts say was exacerbated during the outbreak.

Waters said in an email that the department has a strong recruitment and retention plan, which it called “particularly important.”

She said the department assesses the number of beds for mentally ill patients and beds regularly to ensure that they have enough facilities to meet their needs.

But some say labor and bed shortages mean prisoners do not always get the mental health care they need.

“The point is, ‘How can we adjust them and bring them out?’ Keramet Reiter, professor of crime at the University of California, Irvine.

When inmates become involved in mental health crises on a regular basis and commit or harm themselves, correctional officers and even prison doctors often view these services as useful, Reiter and others said. These prisoners may be considered more dangerous and may be transferred to higher security where people with mental illness are more vulnerable.

Those listed as sex offenders, as Collier was for allegedly exposing him, have the worst.

How California shuffles its mentally ill prisoners Source link How California shuffles its mentally ill prisoners

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