Life in the Supermax Prisons: Terrible for Anyone’s Mental Health…

As a psychiatrist I have long consulted to various kinds of correctional facilities including local county jails, state prisons both low or “minimum” security facilities and “maximum” or “high management” units, a federal correctional evaluation center of some past fame and notoriety because of its infamous inmate-patient referrals especially in the turbulent 1980’s, juvenile correction detention centers in regional settings in the Southwest and one of the country’s largest adolescent detention center in a very large urban city. I also served as a forensic examiner at a state level maximum security state hospital based forensic correctional inpatient unit.

I have long been acutely aware that 1) a substantial percentage, at least one third in the old days, to now a growing majority these days with the last ten years of shifting of the chronically mentally ill from public psychiatric hospital beds to the jails at all levels in this country,  have been mentally ill, and that, 2) the mental health treatment services in all correctional settings have always been and still are, woefully inadequate, and that 3) there is inadequate training for correctional personnel, that 4) management of the mentally ill offender has become consequently, and understandably necessarily more and more reliant on coercive, physical control measures in settings at all levels. This has been a disaster long in the making and obvious to any student and practitioner of correctional facility mental health services delivery who has had a long enough career to see it worsening in the last 10-15 years.

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Federal DOJ Serves Notice To Take Over LA County Jail

As a serendipitous

follow up to an earlier post in my still fledgling blog, I had an article on the national issue of overcrowding of jails at all levels in the USA of inmates with chronic mental health issues [read: chronic unremitting psychotic illnesses that require lifetime psychiatric treatment and management].

Today my ever trusty search bots on the look out for topics like this of interest to me, and to you the reader I hope as well, learned the the Federal Dept. of Justice is seeking to take over supervision or operations of the Los Angeles County Jails one of the largest county jail systems in the county. For more detail on this use this link http://bit.ly/1CNElNT.

As an nudge from this writer, it is really worthwhile if you have an interest in this kind of legal action which sort of had its heyday in the Civil Rights Era of the 1960-2 and 1970’s in desegregation issues ranging from busing of school children across school districts to taking over entire states’ university systems and electoral processes. But the present tidbit that makes for interesting reading is a link contained at the end of the above link that reprints that DOJ letter of notice to the LA County Jail system.

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