Mentally Ill in Custody

This is an article I found to be interesting and relevant to our discussion of problems with confining mentally ill individuals.


Coerced Confessions

Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to hear Darrell Cannon speak in class.  However, the topic of coerced confessions has been of great interest to me since taking a course that covered issues related to Psychology and Law.  Through my internship this semester I am working with a White Paper written about this topic.  The paper is currently a draft, but it does an excellent job of covering the topic and offers recommendations to reform the process of interrogation.  If you go to the first link, you can find the paper.  I hope you guys enjoy this and it teaches you more about this topic.  For those of you who haven’t been exposed to the Reid technique of police interrogation, I would love to hear how this strikes you after reading the section regarding it.  This technique drives me crazy!!

The second link I have included will direct you to a webpage that connects you with the story of the first person ever to be exonerated by DNA evidence in 1989 here in Illinois.  I found this story to be rather insane as the woman who accused Gary Dotson completely made up a story of rape incase she became pregnant after having consensual sex with her boyfriend at the time.  She thought it would be better to make up this story and apparently put a man behind bars than face her parents with the news of being pregnant.  Wow!

3 Videos of Mentally Ill in Solitary

Compare these three videos. 1) An independently produced and directed video to 2) a local news story to 3) a 60 Minutes segment. Each is reporting about the placement of mentally ill prisoners in solitary. How does the documentary film style compare to the news coverage?

Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons from Jenn Ackerman on Vimeo.

Mentally Ill Man Spends Nine Months in Solitary

The Death of Timothy Souders video

The Death of Timothy Souders info Continue reading

Timothy Souders; punished to the point of death?

I just read the article about the death of 21-year-old Timothy Souders while he was incarcerated in a segregation cell at Southern Michigan Correctional.  The article horrified me because of the multiple injustices involved in the case.  First of all, TS shouldn’t have been in solitary confinement when his conditions of bipolar disorder, hyperactivity and depression (which had caused him to attempt suicide several times) were known to the staff. Also, he had a couple of physical conditions such as bedsores and urine burns, but they were not properly treated. Second of all, I really don’t understand the point of “top of the bed restraints” even if they are supposed to only be used for an hour or two when an inmate is severely acting up.  Don’t inmates have any freedom of movement?  Nevertheless, the “top of the bed restraint” went on far longer than it ever should have- 17 hours, with no breaks.  TS urinated on himself, was kept in a room that was over 100 degrees and had trouble eating, drinking and even sitting up and walking.  Once they let him up to shower, he could barely walk and ended up passing out/falling while in the shower.  After he was wheelchaired back to his cell, he was yet again put on “top of the bed restraints,” even though it seems pretty obvious he was in no condition to be any kind of a threat to anyone or anything.  A couple hours later, he was taken off restraint and fell off of the cement block.  They helped him back up and a little while later he fell off of the toilet and was not helped for 46 minutes.  What are the personnel doing at this prison? Why wouldn’t they be watching in inmate that they knew was in such weak condition? A little while later, he was found dead in his cell.  This treatment is just intolerable to me, and Timothy Souders isn’t a special case of severe mistreatment.  In 2006, the prison system in California lost one inmate a week to malpractice or neglect.  I can’t figure out what the problem is- is there not enough staff to check up on all of the inmates at least once every half hour?  Or is it that many of them just disregard the inmates’ human rights, like those soldiers at Abu Ghraib? Whatever the case, this problem needs to be fixed. It is simply inhumane and unconstitutional for the system to let such instances happen.

REMEMBERING-Is torture of mentally ill ever justified?

I don’t know if any of you had a chance to read the article from last class regarding the case and death of Timothy Soulders,but I though it was completely appalling. It literally made me physically sick to read about the conditions he was subjected to,hours before the died.

I’m not going to go into detail about what they did to him (leaving him with bed restrains for 17 hours at a time, at a heat index of 100,ignoring pleas for help,and urine burns),it is obvious to me that the extent of his punishment was severely exaggerated and not because prisoners are also humans and deserve common decency,but because Timothy Soulders was – mentally ill.

This brings everything into a different perspective.I know the answer to the title question is obvious, it is obvious to you and me,but judging from the atrocities that have and continue to take place,perhaps it is still worth discussing it.

It is beyond my imagination why you would subject someone  who is “exhibiting signs of psychotic behavior” to perhaps mundane punishment (i.e bed restrains) when the circumstances call for an exclusive treatment and rehabilitation of the inmate,before he can even appreciate the meaning of his punishment.

Again,that’s just my opinion,call it liberal,call it “not touch on crime”,but it would be hard to convince me that mentally ill individuals deserve such “touch punishments”.

Articles regarding elderly inmates

In reading the articles on aging prison populations I was not surprised to see that average cost per elderly inmate was around $67,000 annually, which is about three times the cost of a younger prisoner. I was surprised however, when I realized after reading that inmates do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid thus placing the burden on state taxpayers. As mentioned in one of the articles concerning the growing number of elderly inmates to younger ones, it seems are spending is soaring to maintain a geriatric prison population that is less then likely to recidivate and is essentially diverting attention from younger more efficient and active criminals. Due to the overpopulation in some prisons, capacity to maintain newer criminals is becoming an exacerbating issue not only for the state but for general well being in society. I personally would rather parole an elderly inmate who runs up costs for the state then to let a younger Continue reading

Telepsychiatry: The future of mental healthcare?

This article discusses the growth of telepsychiatry, the practice of psychiatry through video conferencing.  This technology is being used in hospitals, clinics, schools, and prisons.  The article highlights many advantages of telepsychiatry but does not discuss its shortcomings.  I think more time and research is needed before telepsychiatry can be deemed the preferred method of treatment over face-to-face interaction.