Investigation into inmate’s suicide faults Maryland women’s prison’s treatment of people with disabilities : Washington Post
Investigation into inmate’s suicide faults Maryland women’s prison’s treatment of people with disabilities
Washington Post By Lillian Reed
An investigation into Maryland’s only prison for women following the 2017 suicide of an inmate found the facility violated the constitutional rights of people with disabilities who are placed in segregation and did not take sufficient steps to “prevent future harm.”
The investigation, released Friday by Disability Rights Maryland, reviewed the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women and its role in the death of inmate Emily Butler, who was found dead in her cell from an apparent suicide on Nov. 12, 2017. The investigative report details several findings and recommends changes on how the prison can better handle inmates with disabilities.
Disability Rights Maryland is the state’s designated authority under federal law for conducting investigations into allegations of abuse and negligence for people with disabilities. The group, along with Munib Lohrasbi of the Open Society Institute of Baltimore, launched a review after Butler’s death in segregation.
Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in Prison
The Marshall Project by Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge and Ashley Nerbovig
July 30, 2018
Andrew Butler’s hallucinations and paranoia began last summer. When they persisted into the fall, his father agreed to have him civilly committed — involuntarily sent to the state psychiatric hospital to receive treatment. A few months into his stay at New Hampshire Hospital, Butler was transferred.
To a prison.
National advocacy groups say New Hampshire is the only place in the country where the ward for people at risk of hurting themselves or others, called a secure psychiatric unit, is located in a prison.
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Horrific deaths, brutal treatment: Mental illness in America's jails
The Virginian-Pilot by Gary Harki
August 23 (27), 2019
How America’s jails came to warehouse the people with mental illness is no secret.
Deinstitutionalization, the release of patients from large institutions, began when Thorazine started being widely used in the 1950s. The medication was the first effective antipsychotic drug, calming and sedating people with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses.
By then, the horrific conditions inside America’s mental hospitals were well-known.
“It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there are in the world,” Nellie Bly wrote in “Ten Days in a Madhouse,” her 1887 book on Blackwell's Island Asylum in New York, America’s first municipal mental hospital.
Since the start of deinstitutionalization, jail populations have increased exponentially. In 1950, American jails held about 86,500 people. By 1983 there were more than 223,500 inmates. In 2016, the last year for which data is available, the Bureau of Justice Statistics counted more than 740,700, slightly down from the peak of 785,500 in 2008.
The bureau estimates that 44 percent of jail inmates have been told by a mental health professional that they have a mental disorder. More than a quarter of the jail population – roughly 186,000 people – are believed to be in serious psychological distress.
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Article: A 'hellish world': the mental health crisis overwhelming America's prisons : Guardian by Alisa Roth
A 'hellish world': the mental health crisis overwhelming America's prisons
The Guardian March 31, 2018 by Alisa Roth
In America, jails and prisons have become the nation’s de facto mental healthcare providers – and the results are chilling ....
Across the country, correctional facilities are struggling with the reality that they have become the nation’s de facto mental healthcare providers, although they are hopelessly ill-equipped for the job. They are now contending with tens of thousands of people with mental illness who, by some counts, make up as much as half of their populations.
When They Get Out: how prisons
Atlantic (1999) by Sasha Abramsky
Popular perceptions about crime have blurred the boundaries between fact and politically expedient myth. The myth is that the United States is besieged, on a scale never before encountered, by a pathologically criminal underclass. The fact is that we're not. After spiraling upward during the drug wars, murder rates began falling in the mid-1990s; they are lower today than they were more than twenty years ago. In some cities the murder rate in the late twentieth century is actually lower than it was in the nineteenth century. Nonviolent property-crime rates are in general lower in the United States today than in Great Britain, and are comparable to those in many European countries.
Have You Ever Seen Someone Be Killed?
The New York Times May 25, 2018 :: Emily Badger
Researchers with the Boston Reentry Study were one year into their interviews, following 122 men and women as they returned from prison to their neighborhoods and families, when they asked the kind of question that’s hard to broach until you know someone well.
They prompted the study’s participants to think back to childhood. “Did you ever see someone get killed during that time?” ...
“The whole ethical foundation of our system of punishment I think is threatened once you take into account the reality of people’s lives,”
Does Solitary Make Inmates More Likely To Reoffend - Frontline
by ANJALI TSUI Abrams Journalism Fellow,
As a teenager, Adam Brulotte relished the attention he received from getting into fights at parties. When he was 18 years old, he was arrested for burglary and aggravated assault after punching a man and breaking his jaw in seven places.
Brulotte arrived in Maine State Prison in 2012 to serve a two year sentence for violating his probation.
There, he was sent to solitary confinement for starting a riot on his cell block. During the approximately four months he spent in isolation, Brulotte cut himself, flooded his cell with toilet water and pushed feces under his door. Each incident earned him more time in solitary confinement.
Once he was released, Brulotte tried to find a sense of normalcy. He started dating, got a job at a local convenience store but soon ended up back in jail for driving without a license, an assault and failing to pay court fines.
“It leaves a scar on you that you won’t forget and you can’t heal … you get flashbacks and anxiety,” he said of solitary.
Solitary Nation - April 22, 2014
With extraordinary access this film takes you to the epicenter of the raging debate about prison reform. Solitary Nation brings you an up-close, graphic look at a solitary confinement unit in Maine’s maximum security prison.
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Breaking Down the Box
"Breaking Down the Box" examines the mental health, racial justice and human rights implications of the systemic use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. It is a call to action for communities of faith to engage in the growing nationwide movement for restorative alternatives to isolated confinement that prioritize rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and recovery.
The 40-minute documentary was produced by filmmaker Matthew Gossage. More resources at nrcat.org
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After Solitary - FRONTLINE
When Kenny Moore was convicted of aggravated assault, burglary and theft and sent to Maine State Prison at age 18, he expected to serve an 18-month sentence. But after a series of fights and disruptive behavior, he was sent to solitary confinement, where his disruptive behavior only worsened. All in all, Kenny spent five-and-a-half years in solitary confinement and nearly 20 years in and out of prison.
Inside solitary, Moore ripped the hair out of his body. He bit chunks out of himself. He started hearing voices. He wrote messages on the wall of his cell with his own blood.
“It turns you into an animal,” Moore says in After Solitary, a new virtual reality film from FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group.
In After Solitary, follow Moore as he narrates an immersive, 360° tour of a solitary confinement cell, recounting what his
life was like on the inside — and how that experience has impacted his life now that he’s a free man.
The film is a visceral window into the practice of solitary confinement, which Maine State Prison began reducing the use of while Moore was locked up. The prison also started offering rehabilitation classes to inmates, and says that since 2011, rates of violence and self-harm have dropped dramatically. But studies show that inmates who have spent significant time in solitary are more likely to be sent back to prison.
Meanwhile, Moore, who was released last fall, is struggling to adjust to life on the outside. He rarely leaves his bedroom. It is, he says, his “own personal prison” — and the place where he feels most safe.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive