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‘Insane’: America’s 3 Largest Psychiatric Facilities Are Jails-Big Jump Seen In Number Of Inmates Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs In California


Big Jump Seen In Number Of Inmates Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs In California

An average of 13,776 inmates in 45 California counties were on psychotropic medications in 2016-2017, a recent report found. That is up from 10,999 five years ago.

erwin rachbauer/imageBROKER RM/Getty Images

When 47-year-old Edward Vega arrived in jail, he couldn’t quiet the voices in his head. He felt paranoid, as though he was losing control. “I knew if I didn’t get my medication, I was going to hurt someone,” says Vega.

He was right. A week after being arrested for alleged drug possession, Vega says, he assaulted a fellow inmate and ended up in isolation, which only made him feel worse.

Finally, a doctor prescribed drugs that Vega says helped. He had been taking them on the outside but ran out just before he was arrested.

“The medication hasn’t totally taken away the voices, but I am able to differentiate reality from fiction,” says Vega, who was released three months ago.

The number of inmates in California who’ve been prescribed psychiatric drugs has jumped about 25 percent in five years, according to a recent analysis of state data. These inmates now account for about a fifth of the county jail population across the state.

The increase might be a reflection of the growing number of inmates with mental illness, though it also might stem from improved identification of people in need of treatment, say researchers from California Health Policy Strategies, a Sacramento-based consulting firm.

Amid a severe shortage of psychiatric beds and community-based treatment throughout the state and nation, jails have become repositories for people in the throes of acute mental health crises.

The number of people with mental illness in jails and prisons in the U.S. is “astronomical,” says Michael Romano, director of Three Strikes & Justice Advocacy Project at Stanford Law School, who was not involved in the research. “In many ways, the whole justice system is overwhelmed with mental illness.”

Contributing to the problem in California is a 2011 federal court order, and a state decision a few years later, that had unintended consequences.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the prison population because of overcrowding that the judges said constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Three years later, a state proposition reclassified some felony crimes as misdemeanors. Taken together, that led to a huge influx of offenders going to county jails instead of state prisons.

The CHPS analysis, based on survey data from 45 of California’s 58 counties, opens a window into how the most-populated state is coping with the influx.

“We think this is the first part of a more systematic discussion about what is going on in the jails and in the broader community with respect to mental health,” says David Panush, a co-author of the report, which was funded in part by the California Health Care Foundation.

Far more people with mental illness are housed in jails and prisons than in psychiatric hospitals. Insufficient staff training and poor patient treatment have contributed to inmate suicides, self-mutilation, violence and other problems, say advocates for the mentally ill.

One oft-cited complaint is that inmates have poor access to psychiatric prescriptions to treat such conditions as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder.

Jail officials in California say they are trying to better identify incarcerated people who could benefit from such drugs. The numbers suggest the strategy may be working. According to the CHPS report, an average of 13,776 inmates in the 45 California counties were on psychotropic medications in 2016-2017, up from 10,999 five years ago.

But the portion of inmates taking psychotropic medicine varies widely by county — from 8 percent in Glenn County to 32 percent in Sonoma and Napa, according to the analysis. The report is based on data from the Board of State and Community Corrections, an independent state agency.

In Los Angeles County, where the jails have been described as one of the largest mental institution in the country, about 30 percent of the roughly 18,000 inmates are mentally ill and most of those diagnosed are on medication, says Dr. Joseph Ortego, chief psychiatrist for correctional health services in L.A. County.

Although some are still missed in the screening process, he says, the county jails have improved identification and treatment of inmates and expanded staffing as part of a 2015 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The department had alleged inadequate mental health care and suicide prevention in the jails.

Overall, medications are likely underprescribed in jails, psychiatrists say.

“You need enough mental health professionals to treat the very large numbers of mentally ill people in jails,” says Dr. H. Richard Lamb, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. “There probably aren’t enough.”

And the medications these doctors prescribe are a crucial aspect of treatment, Lamb says.

Some advocates for the mentally ill worry that the drugs are at times prescribed inappropriately. Zima Creason, president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America of California, says psychoactive medicines, though sometimes necessary, are no substitute for comprehensive care for jail inmates.

“Sadly, they just throw a bunch of pills at them because there is nothing else,” she says, adding that jails should also be providing individual and group therapy, more time outside of cells and sufficient recreation time.

“Jail is not conducive for real recovery,” Creason says. “We are never going to put a dent in the numbers unless we provide a therapeutic environment.”

Like people who live outside the correction facilities, inmates can be subject to involuntary drug treatment, officials say, but only if a court deems that step appropriate.

County jail officials, including Dr. Alfred Joshua, chief medical officer for the Sheriff’s Department in San Diego County, say the influx of mentally ill inmates and the rising need for psychotropic drugs stems from a lack of resources for patients in the community.

“When they have [an] exacerbation of mental illness, they do many times come into contact with law enforcement,” Joshua says.

Some of the most common charges that bring people with mental illness to jail are drug offenses and parole violations. Those who are homeless frequently get charged with panhandling, public urination and related crimes.

In addition to trying to improve treatment inside the jails, officials in Los Angeles and San Diego counties say they are working more closely with community organizations to ensure inmates with mental illness get the services they need after their release.

Vega says a local community group, the Neighborhood House Association, was able to help in his case, ensuring he got his meds and other treatment.

“Without the medication,” Vega says, “I would probably be right back in jail.”

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research



Hallo Annamaria, 

am eigenen Leib konnte ich erfahren wie es sich anfühlt, plötzlich nicht mehr alle Freiheiten zu haben. 5 Tage verbrachte ich nach einem Suizidversuch in der geschlossenen Station. Das und die Erkenntnis, ein Verschweigen der Krankheit mich erst dahin geführt hatte, nahm ich zum Anlass, mich zu outen und offen über meine psychische Krankheit zu sprechen.

Mein Name ist Uwe Hauck und auf protestiere ich gegen das geplante Bayerische Psychiatriegesetz! Ministerpräsident Markus Söder muss den Entwurf stoppen und anpassen. 

Der Entwurf für das Gesetz macht mich fassungslos. Patienten sollen bei der Polizei gemeldet und Daten fünf Jahre gespeichert werden. Listen von psychisch Kranken zu erstellen und über Jahre den Behörden zur Verfügung zu stellen, stigmatisiert bereits geheilte und entlassene Patienten noch zusätzlich und stellt eine massive Einschränkung im Bezug auf den weiteren Alltag dar.

Dieses Gesetz erzeugt zum einen das Bild von psychisch Kranken als jemanden…

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The Supreme Court has granted immunity to a police officer who shot a mentally ill woman outside her home.

The Supreme Court has granted immunity to a police officer who shot a mentally ill woman outside her home.

curi56 Uncategorized April 4, 2018 3 Minutes

The Supreme Court has granted immunity to a police officer who shot a mentally ill woman outside her home.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision keeps with a “disturbing trend” of the high court shielding serious police misconduct.
The case was occasioned in 2010 when a University of Arizona police officer responded to a call of a woman brandishing a knife.
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday granted immunity to a police officer who shot a mentally ill woman outside her home in 2010, prompting a fervent dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The justice said Monday’s decision keeps with a “disturbing trend” in which the high court continuously shields serious police misconduct from civil liability.
“Its decision is not just wrong on the law; it also sends an alarming signal to law enforcement officers and the public,” she wrote. “It tells officers that they can shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished.”
The case was occasioned in 2010 when University of Arizona police officer Andrew Kisela responded to a “check welfare” call, after a neighbor called 911 to report a woman brandishing a knife was behaving erratically and hacking at a tree. Kisela and two other officers arrived at the scene to find the woman, Amy Hughes, emerging from her home with a knife in her hand. She was approaching her roommate, Sharon Chadwick, who was standing in the driveway.
Accounts differ as to the events that immediately followed, but the confrontation concluded with Kisela shooting Hughes four times. Hughes has a history of mental illness, of which the officers on scene were unaware.
Hughes claimed the shooting violated the Constitution, and she sued Kisela for damages. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in her favor, prompting Kisela’s appeal to the Supreme Court.
In an unsigned opinion, the high court reversed the 9th Circuit’s decision without briefing or argument. This practice, known as summary reversal, is generally reserved for clear errors of law. The Court found Kisela was entitled to qualified immunity, which protects police officers from civil damages provided the conduct at issue does not violate a clearly-established right. This requires courts to determine whether a “reasonable officer” would have known the relevant actions were unlawful.
In finding for the officer, the Court emphasized the quick time frame in which events unfolded, as well as the fact that Hughes was standing in immediate proximity to a defenseless civilian. They also noted the 9th Circuit sanctioned a police shooting in a similar case, in which officers fired on a non-compliant man carrying a sword near the entrance to a private residence.
Sotomayor dissented from the decision, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While arguing the majority misapprehends the case’s facts and the relevant law, she went on to criticize her colleagues for their one-sided enforcement of the qualified immunity rule. Though the justices often reverse lower courts who mistakenly deny officers immunity, they almost never intervene to correct a lower court that wrongly awarded it.
“This Court routinely displays an unflinching willingness ‘to summarily reverse courts for wrongly denying officers the protection of qualified immunity’ but ‘rarely intervenes where courts wrongly afford officers the benefit of qualified immunity in these same cases,’” she wrote.
“Such a one-sided approach to qualified immunity transforms the doctrine into an absolute shield for law enforcement officers, gutting the deterrent effect of the Fourth Amendment,” she added.
Justice Clarence Thomas has criticized the doctrine on slightly different grounds. He argued modern qualified immunity cases are increasingly divorced from their historical roots in a 2017 opinion.
Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy after Monday’s decision, University of Chicago Law School professor Will Baude noted the Court’s vigorous defense of qualified immunity is somewhat unusual. Most police shooting cases are intensely subjective and fact-specific, where the Supreme Court’s primary task is to craft general rules dictating the resolution of many different cases. Baude’s scholarship was cited in Sotomayor’s dissent.
“It is worth noting that the Court treats qualified immunity not just as ordinary settled law, but as an area of law so important that it is worth deciding a series of factbound cases that would never earn the Court’s attention if they involved a different legal issue,” he wrote. “Moreover, the Court seems uninterested or unable to find such cases where a lower court wrongly denied relief to a person whose constitutional rights were violated.”
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The world TV premiere of the CCHR documentary,
Psychiatry: An Industry of Death

Tonight at 6pm PT, 9pm ET on Direct TV Channel 320 or watch live here:

Watch Live Tonight!

CCHR International <>

The world TV premiere of the CCHR documentary,
Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
Tonight at 6pm PT, 9pm ET on Direct TV Channel 320 or watch live here:

The world TV premiere of the CCHR documentary,
Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
Tonight at 6pm PT, 9pm ET on Direct TV Channel 320 or watch live here:

The world TV premiere of the CCHR documentary,
Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
Tonight at 6pm PT, 9pm ET on Direct TV Channel 320 or watch live here:

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal.” Aldous Huxley

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

90% of death row prisoners executed in 2017 showed signs of mental illness, intellectual disability, severe trauma, and/or innocence. PDF

Fair Punishment Proj
Jan 9

90% of death row prisoners executed in 2017 showed signs of mental illness, intellectual disability, severe trauma, and/or innocence.
Learn more: #deathpenalty @DPInfoCtr #dpic2017yearendreport

A Preventable Death

A Preventable Death
curi56 Uncategorized March 10, 2013 4 Minutes or

Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Source: what-life-is-like-in-a-prison-camp-in-the-dnr-body-image-1437397705-size_10002.jpg

A Preventable Death in an Arizona Prison
March 9, 2013 By Solitary Watch Guest Author

Guest Post by Carl ToersBijns
Carl ToersBijns worked in corrections for over 25 years, holding the positions of a correctional officer, chief of security at a mental health treatment center, program director, associate warden, and deputy warden of administration and operations in both the New Mexico and Arizona Departments of Corrections. He specializes in consulting and developing strategic plans for sound correctional practices, mental health treatment, security threat groups, training and staff development. He has published three books in the Wasted Honor Trilogy, as well as the book Gorilla Justice: Caged War Veterans, the Mentally Ill and Solitary Confinement, and has written blog posts on and as a guest writer for Yahoo. In the Anthony Lester case, he has been interviewed several times by local media on the subject of correctional practices and issues surrounding Lester’s death
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The nightmare started in 2009, when a young Native American man named Anthony Lester was convicted of his first felony offense–one count of aggravated assault for a stabbing that took place during a foiled suicide attempt–and sentenced to twelve years in an Arizona prison. Tony Lester had been diagnosed with schizophrenia while still in high school; he heard voices and had a history of mutilating and otherwise harming himself. He clearly needed help, so his family asked the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) to honor the court order that was issued by the judge hearing the case. That judge had stated that Lester should be housed in a mental health treatment unit rather than in the general population, where there is no immediate provision to treat those with severe mental illnesses, who have difficulty coping and functioning while incarcerated.
The ADC ignored the court order and housed Lester to Tucson State Prison, infested with Native American gangs demanding Lester pay protection for his presence on the yard. Tony Lester shared his concerns for his own safety with prison officials, and was segregated in a detention unit until his protective custody process was completed. The family informed officials of Lester’s mental illness, and their response was that this particular inmate was manipulative and trying to avoid living on the yard where he faced gang extortion.
Several times the family tried to get their point across–that Lester suffered from a debilitating mental illness, and that he was court ordered to remain on all psychotropic medications. The family was shocked when they found out that inmates have the right to refuse their medications and that Lester was still being housed in a tiny detention cell awaiting final disposition on his protective custody. While isolated in detention, Lester decompensated and was put on a suicide watch.
Then, on July 11, 2010, the family received a call at 11:45 pm, telling them that Tony Lester had been taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A call notifying them of his death came three hours later, 2:45 am. An investigation was conducted and the death was ruled a suicide by razor blade. The razor blade that Lester had used to mortally wound himself had been given to him by mistake by an officer who forgot to remove the razor from the prisoner’s personal hygiene kit, less than two days after he had come off a suicide watch.
When the first responders arrived, they did not enter the cell immediately, as they alleged they could not see Lester’s hands and feared he had a weapon hidden. They waited for more staff to arrive and safely removed the cellmate who reported the fact that Anthony Lester was hurt and bleeding badly. (Since Anthony Lester was asking for protection from Native American gang members, he should never have been double-bunked with another Native American who knew of Lester’s suicidal ideations and self-harming behaviors.)
At the time the emergency incident was called in, one sergeant and four correctional officers and one video recorder operated by a correctional officer entered the cell and offered no first aid or assistance to the inmate. Instead, Tony Lester lay in the upper bunk, bleeding, waiting for help to arrive. Barely breathing on his own and moaning the words “help,” he was told by the officers that help was on its way. No one tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to Lester’s wounds, until EMS staff arrived to take him to the hospital. By then it was too late. Anthony Lester bled to death with half a dozen people standing by, doing nothing.
The family and an investigative reporter from KPNX New 12, a local television station, fought for two years to have the video released and made public. The graphic video (which appears below) was finally aired at the end of last month. It drew the attention of an Arizona lawmaker, Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who promised a full legislative oversight hearing on Anthony Lester’s death.
Lester is only one of many prisoners who have died in Arizona during the administration ADC Director Charles L. Ryan, a former contractual employee of the Department of Justice who oversaw portions of the Iraqi prison system (including Abu Ghraib before the scandal broke out). Another was Marcia Powell, a women with mental illness who baked to death in the sun in an outdoor holding cell. Several others have killed themselves, often in isolation units, in a state prison system with a suicide rate that is well above the national average.
An interview with Dr. James Gilligan revealed alleged violations of the Eight Amendment and other human rights violations, as the video reveals this expert’s opinion that the Department of Corrections did not fulfill its custodial and constitutional responsibilities toward Tony Lester, and ignored his basic civil rights.
Related articles
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Arizona Prison Ends Fight Involving 400 Inmates (
solitary watch: “SICK & in SOLITARY” (
Arizona prison ends fight involving 400 inmates ()
400 Inmates Fight: Prison Watchdog Groups Speak Out (
A Preventable Death in an Arizona Prison (
400 inmates were fighting for hours in Arizona – even THEY can’t get along!!! (
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A Longitudinal Study of Violent Behavior in a Psychosis-Risk Cohort. Brucato G1, Appelbaum PS1, Lieberman JA1, Wall MM1, Feng T1, Masucci MD1, Altschuler R1, Girgis RR1.

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Jan;43(2):264-271. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.151. Epub 2017 Jul 26.
A Longitudinal Study of Violent Behavior in a Psychosis-Risk Cohort.
Brucato G1, Appelbaum PS1, Lieberman JA1, Wall MM1, Feng T1, Masucci MD1, Altschuler R1, Girgis RR1.
Author information

There is a lack of insight into the relationships between violent ideation, violent behavior, and early, particularly attenuated, psychosis. Our aims were to examine the relationships between baseline violent behavior and violent ideation and outcome violent behavior and conversion to psychosis in at-risk individuals. We longitudinally assessed 200 individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis for violent ideation and violent behavior using the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS), and rated these according to MacArthur Community Violence categories. Fifty-six individuals (28%) reported violent ideation at baseline, 12 (6%) reported violent behavior within 6 months pre-baseline, and 8 (4%) committed acts of violence during the follow-up time period. Information about violent ideation was obtained only by indirect, but not direct, inquiry about violent ideation. Both violent ideation and violent behavior at baseline significantly predicted violent behavior (RR=13.9, p=0.001; RR=8.3, p=0.003, respectively) during follow-up, as well as a diagnosis of psychosis (RR=2.3 and 2.4, respectively; both p<0.001), independent of more than 40 clinical and demographic variables. The targets of the subjects’ violent ideation at baseline were completely different than their subsequent targets of violent behavior. Violent behavior occurred within 7 days (SD 35 days) of a diagnosis of syndromal psychosis. These data suggest that checking carefully for violent ideation and behavior in clinical high-risk patients is essential, as these have predictive value for conversion to psychosis and likelihood of violence in the future.
PMID: 28745307 DOI: 10.1038/npp.2017.151

UPDATE – Autopsy Report Released; Cause and Manner of Death Determined

Fairfax County Police Department News

On Tuesday, April 28, Cold Case detectives with the Major Crimes Division obtained Natasha McKenna’s completed autopsy report from the Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

As quoted from the Report of Autopsy regarding Natasha McKenna,

“Cause of Death: Excited delirium associated with physical restraint including use of conductive energy device, contributing: Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder”

“Manner of Death: Accident”

Detectives are still awaiting examination reports for the medical equipment that was utilized to monitor McKenna’s vital signs prior to paramedics responding to the Adult Detention Center.

As is customary in all complex criminal investigations, forensic analysis of all potential evidence, though time intensive, is standard to ensuring all proper and fair conclusions are reached based on accurate and detailed facts. This detailed and thorough investigation, once complete, including all evidence collected, including the recently received medical examiner’s report, any audio or video recordings, witness statements, and…

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Mentally Ill Woman, Natasha McKenna Is Tased To Death By Deputies On



Graphic Video Shows Natasha McKenna, Mentally Ill WomanVideo Mentally Ill Woman, Tased in Jail Before Her Death
curi56September 18, 2015UncategorizedEdit from my blog

“Graphic Video Shows Natasha McKenna, Mentally Ill WomanVideo Mentally Ill Woman, Tased in Jail Before Her Death”





Mentally Ill Woman, Natasha McKenna Is Tased To Death By Deputies On



Officer Involved
Graphic Video Shows Natasha McKenna Tased in Jail Before Her Death

A Virginia sheriff’s department released a video today showing the in-custody events leading up to the death of mentally-ill inmate Natasha McKenna after she was shot with a Taser multiple times by authorities. The video’s release comes just days after a Fairfax County official decided not to seek criminal charges in connection with the deadly incident.
The 48-minute long video posted on YouTube starts with a filmed statement from Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid discussing this week’s announcement that criminal charges would not be brought, and explaining that various media reports about what happened compelled her to release the Video.

“There is no better way to share what actually occurred than to make this video availability for the community to view in its entirety,” Kincaid said. …
and explaining that various media reports about what happened compelled her to release the Video.,

The 48-minute long video posted on YouTube starts with a filmed statement from Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid discussing this week’s announcement that criminal charges would not be brought

“Graphic Video Shows Natasha McKenna, Mentally Ill WomanVideo Mentally Ill Woman, Tased in Jail Before Her Death”