A conversation about New York's solitary confinement law; podcast with Jennifer Parish, Urban Justice Center
... []
Solitary confinement reformed in New York
MHASC.jpgReform of solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners took place in New York this month. A milestone for the state -- the first in the nation to lead with law and not follow the courts -- it also falls short of the goal to end a practice that in some parts of the world is called torture. "Solitary confinement reformed in New York" is accompanied by an exclusive podcast, and interview with one of the activists. []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
Re-arrest for people with a mental illness is higher than for ex-inmates generally.
Read more about restoring benefits and re-establishing life in a community: LIFELINES: Linking to Federal Benefits for People Exiting Corrections published by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.... []
Al Jazeera reports criminalization of mental illness in US
Al Jazeera's investigative English speaking program, Fault Line, has created a two-part video series about how people with a mental illness are treated in the United States. . . []
Loathsome prison conditions for mentally ill
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With one psychiatrist for every 1,000 inmates, and more than two dozen current investigations into civil rights violations, America faces a human rights crisis in its jails and prisons. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) called current practices of incarcerating people with a mental illness "loathsome, indefensible" during yesterday's congressional hearings "Human Rights at Home: Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons and Jails." . . . []
More than half of all prisoners in the United States have a mental illness.
Read more from the opening statement of Sen. Dick Durbin at the (Sept. 15, 2009) Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearings, "Human Rights at Home: Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons and Jails." ... []
Prison chain wants psychiatric hospital
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Private prison companies are expanding their operations to include the management of psychiatric hospitals. . . []
Deaths from suicide and substance use during arrest
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More than one in five deaths during arrest were caused by suicide, alcohol, or substance use, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. []
Drug treatment to reduce crime recidivism
The criminal justice system has five gateways for helping offenders with an addictive disorder get treatment. Informed by neuroscience and the biology of addiction and treatment, authors of an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) urge they become opportunities for interventions. Research has shown that chronic drug use alters the brain's circuitry which affects behavior. Treatment upon returning to the community is a key to reducing recidivism, say these authors who are part of the National... []
Re-entry programs needed after jail
Finding a better way to work with mentally ill people leaving jail and prison needs to be addressed, said Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) during a meeting at the Brookings Institution discussing re-entry programs. He also called attention to the failure to distinguish between crime and illness: "It's not a crime to be mentally ill. It's not a crime to be addicted to drugs. It is a crime to live by violence and to extort money from people who are trying... []
Global mental health challenges
photo:iStock World Mental Health Day was the occasion for reports calling attention to the global marginalization of psychiatric conditions. A general assessment from the editors of The Lancet notes: "mental ill-health is likely to have been underestimated because the connection with other health conditions is often ignored. Worse still, the availability, accessibility, and quality of health services is poor and inequitable." Plans are underway for an international mental health summit next year in Athens. Ghana Officials in Ghana are joyful... []
345,000 people with a mental illness are in prisons.
Read more from the American Prospect.... []
Psychiatric unit in Kentucky prison
In Their Corner - Inmate Watchers from Jenn Ackerman on Vimeo. Photojournalist Jenn Ackerman filmed the psychiatric ward of a Kentucky prison where this inmate watcher, himself a prisoner, often comforts inmates in solitary quarters. Twenty-five percent of Kentucky's inmates have a mental illness, and 150 of them are treated in the Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit at the Kentucky State Reformatory in 1998. Warden Larry Chandler called the prison a "surrogate hospital."... []
Shifting sex predators into mental health system
Louisiana is considering extending the sentences of sex predators by additional confinement in a mental health facility. At least 17 states had similar laws in 2007, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ... []
Psychiatric disorders at Guantanamo
A report released from Human Rights Watch, Locked Up Alone indicates that many of the prisoners at Guantanamo have developed psychiatric symptoms of a thought disorders such as schizophrenia (hallucinations, voices, self-mutilation), or anxiety, PTSD, depression which have led to suicide attempts during their detainment. The YouTube video shows a supervised press visit in March.... []
Update: Va. pol weighs in to expand service
A weekend editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, by House of Delegate Representative Jennifer McClellan, urged the General Assembly not to make hasty decisions for long-term solutions to the mental health crisis in Virginia. Structural, financial, personnel, and other residual needs were under discussion before Virginia Tech renewed attention, adding to the intensity of the debate. The General Assembly meets biannually for 60 days, and McLellan (D) represents the 71st Dsitrict. A number of controversial bills for involuntary commitment have diverted... []
Update: Virginia
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Ending solitary confinement in New York
A bill banning 24-hour solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners in New York is on the way to Gov. Elliot Spitzer for signature. The measure was passed by the legislature after five years of intense lobbying from families, advocates, and professionals. ... []
Prison suicide
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Home, not hospitalized, in Australian project
A demonstration project in Australia, working with 24 mentally ill people in their homes, has reduced hospitalization from 356 to 28 days in one year, according to a report from Australian Broadcasting System. A spokesperson for the charity Mission Australia said, "the program is based around spending time with people to make sure they keep their links with their community." It is a promising model to prevent homelessness and help people avoid committing petty lawbreaking offenses. About 10 percent of... []
British and Welch prison suicides
Suicide in British and Welch prisons occurs roughly 33 times more often than in the general population, according to report issued by the "Forum For Preventing Deaths In Custody." Studying deaths in state custody, the report notes that of the roughly 600 prisoners who die in prison each year, about one-third of the deaths come from self-inflicted wounds. The report urges treatment instead of prison for people with mental illness. ... []
Florida's prisons and police
CNN, July 13, 2007 CNN visited the "forgotten floor" where mentally ill offenders are currently held at the Miami-Dade pre-detention county facility. With more mentally ill inmates than the largest state hospital, this jail warehouses some people for up to one year before their cases are heard. The system is scheduled to be overhauled in 2008. This is one of four CNN reports available in print and video. ... []
Prisons fail mentally ill
A national conversation about the intersection of mental health policies in America’s prisons is urgently needed, says Dr. Marcia Kraft Goin, former president of the American Psychiatric Association. With more mentally ill people in Los Angeles prisons than in hospitals, and proposals to further erode community programs through Medicaid cuts, she calls this “a national emergency.” ... []

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