“Mentally ill inmates ‘warehoused’ in Colorado solitary confinement!”

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December 1, 2013December 1, 2013 i added this photo

“Mentally ill inmates ‘warehoused’ in Colorado solitary confinement!”

Some Risdon inmates in solitary confinement fo...
Some Risdon inmates in solitary confinement for years: reports (Photo credit: publik16)

Mentally ill inmates ‘warehoused’ in Colorado solitary confinement

                                                     Published time: July 25, 2013 01:58                                                                                                     

   

On any day, chosen at random in 2012, the Colorado Department of  Corrections (CDOC) housed between 537 and 686 mentally ill  inmates in solitary confinement – with an average stay of 16  months, according to a new report from the American Civil  Liberties Union (ACLU)

AFP Photo / Getty Images / Kevork DjansezianAFP Photo / Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

 

                                            

Prison inmates struggling with severe mental illness make up more than half of those held in solitary confinement across Colorado prisons.

  On any day, chosen at random in 2012, the Colorado Department of  Corrections (CDOC) housed between 537 and 686 mentally ill  inmates in solitary confinement – with an average stay of 16  months, according to a new report from the American Civil  Liberties Union (ACLU). 

  A typical prisoner in solitary confinement is held for 23 hours a  day in a small, often windowless cell without access to a phone.

  They are usually given one hour of outdoor time per day, or  allowed access to an exercise room with a small amount of  equipment.

The conditions frequently lead inmates, even ones who  were otherwise healthy before isolation, to states of psychosis,  where they “bang their heads against the wall in an effort to  drown out the voices in their heads,” the ACLU said. 

Warehousing mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement is  not only costly, cruel, and unlawful, its puts the public at  serious risk,” wrote ACLU attorney Rebecca Wallace, who  drafted the report. “When mental illness goes untreated, or is  made worse by solitary confinement, it can lead to criminal or  antisocial actions once a prisoner is released, leaving the  public to suffer the consequences.” 

Medical physicians and human rights advocates have consistently  classified solitary confinement as inhumane, as a form of  torture, and cruel and unusual punishment – the last of which is  prohibited by the US Constitution. 

  Courts have agreed, with a California judge refusing to dismiss a  suit brought earlier this year by inmates in solitary confinement  at the state’s notorious Pelican Bay supermax facility. The  lawsuit, which California officials sought to have thrown out,  revealed that as of 2011, over 500 inmates had been isolated in  security housing units (SHU), administrative jargon for  isolation, for over ten years. Seventy-eight others were in the  SHU – pronounced “shoe” behind bars – for two  decades. 

  The ACLU report determined that prisoners with mental  deficiencies are more likely to be sent to the SHU because they  are less likely or simply unable to follow the rules. Once there,  they “appear to have no road out of severely restrictive  confinement.” 

With many states slashing budgets for mental hospitals and  treatment funding, prisons have increasingly become inundated  with prisoners unfit for confined life. Just a few days, though,  of isolation can introduce an inmate to hallucinations,  difficulty thinking and other lasting effects. 

The restriction of environmental stimulation and social  isolation associated with confinement in solitary are strikingly  toxic to mental functioning, producing a stuporous condition  associated with perceptual and cognitive impairment and affective  disturbances,” wrote former Harvard Medical School  Psychiatrist Stuart Grassian, as quoted by Think Progress. “As  a consequence, the practice has been deemed torture, cruel and  inhuman treatment, and a ‘living death.’”

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4 responses

  1. Reblogged this on colouredjustice.wordpress.com.

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    September 8, 2015 at 8:46 am

  2. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

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    September 8, 2015 at 9:06 am

  3. Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

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    September 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

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