California suppressed consultant’s report on inmate suicides


The report warned that California‘s prison suicide-watch practices encouraged inmate deaths. Gov. Brown has said the state’s prison care crisis is over.

Prison

A sign warns caregivers and correctional officers in the mental health unit at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown has pointed to reams of documents to make the case in court and on the stump that California’s prison crisis is over, and inmates are receiving good care.

But there is at least one document the administration wanted to hide.

New court filings reveal that the state suppressed a report from its own consultant warning that California’s prison suicide-watch practices encouraged inmate deaths.

Lindsay Hayes, a national expert on suicide prevention in prisons, told corrections officials in 2011 that the state’s system of holding suicidal inmates for days in dim, dirty, airless cells with unsanitized mattresses on the floor was compounding the risk that they would take their own lives.

His report described in detail inmates being divested of their clothes and possessions and robed in a “safety smock.” Hayes concluded that such conditions encouraged prisoners to declare they were no longer suicidal just to escape the holding cells. Many of them took their own lives soon after.

The state asked Hayes to create a short version of his report that omitted his damaging findings, to give to a court monitor and lawyers for prisoners, the court documents show. Hayes complied, but when inmate attorneys obtained a complete copy, the state asked a U.S. District Court to order it destroyed. The judge refused.

The report says the state’s handling of suicidal inmates is “seemingly punitive” and “anti-therapeutic.” Hayes noted that guards, not mental health workers, dictate many of the conditions of suicide watches, such as whether to allow daily showers. Hayes alleged prison workers sometimes falsified watch logs showing how frequently those inmates were checked.

Continue Reading @ LA Times

 

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3 thoughts on “California suppressed consultant’s report on inmate suicides

  1. My son , who was 20 at the time, was put on suicide watch his first night in county jail in Sanford Florida. He was stripped naked (my son is very shy), given a sheet to cover himself with and given only a mattress on the floor , a toilet with no toilet paper . When they left him out the next day he mentioned that if they wanted to keep him from killing himself that was not the way to go. These prisons are so closed off to the public they get away with murder.

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  2.  Who can I call to get my husbands mail delivered to him. They are holding his mail and he has done nothing to deserve it…He is a peace maker and all like him.

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    Prison Reform Movement posted: “The report warned that California’s prison suicide-watch practices encouraged inmate deaths. Gov. Brown has said the state’s prison care crisis is over.

    A sign warns caregivers and correctional officers in the mental health unit at the California Med”

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