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.


Pre-Release Party on Dec 10, 2008


Map of 25. E. Pearson

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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!

Abortion Rights in Prison

An article about women’s reproductive rights in prison:

Supreme Court Refuses Missouri Abortion Rights Appeal

Prisoners read children’s books

I came across this article online today.  It describes a program that was originally started in the UK but is now being used in Australian prisons.  While being recorded on a CD, inmates read children’s books aloud.  The books and recordings are then sent to their children.  This program promotes a parent-child relationship between the child and incarcerated parent while improving literacy for all involved.

Quoted from the transcript of a news story:

FELICITY OGILVIE: The CD’s are sent to the children with a copy of the book. When one inmate’s four-year-old stepson got his first CD he started crying.

INMATE 3: His mum put it on for him and noticed my voice and started listenin’ to it and she said he had tears comin’ out of his eyes and tried to say he was tired, he wasn’t crying at all, yeah but every time like he plays up or be’s naughty, she puts the CD on and yeah, he’s fine.

Is there anyone in the IDOC who is considering how the treatment of prisoners is affecting their children on the outside?

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.

Reflections on Lisa Madigan’s Speech

Unfortunately missing the protests, I somehow managed to get to Lisa Madigan’s speech. And not just to the video room, but “the real one.” (I’m mentioning this, because security was super tight, it almost felt like I’m going to hear the President of the United States speak)

Either way, the room was filled with reporters and seemingly important people. After a brief introduction by another Loyola Law School alumna, Lisa Madigan began her speech, which overall was very well put together (The woman definitely has character and charisma).

A friend of mine that was accompanying me noted that the speech was rather autobiographic, as she spoke about her undergrad studies in Georgetown and adventures in Africa, where she taught a robust group of “hungry for knowledge” students.

Also, she devoted a large portion of her speech to praising “U.S. Senator Paul Simon, an Illinois Democrat who influenced her to reconsider what she wanted to do with her life”

The interesting part came, after a brave protestor who somehow have managed to sneak in, lifted protest Continue reading