Police Station, Prison and Mental Hospital Reform

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Ante
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11 Jun 2005, 5:14 pm

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Postperson
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11 Jun 2005, 5:28 pm

Whats CCTV anti? Over here it's christian television I think.



rumio
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11 Jun 2005, 5:59 pm

Society's attitude to people it calls mentally ill is appalling and always has been, I could go on a big rant about this as I work in mental health and it's something I feel very strongly about. Things have really not changed very much since Victorian times (talking in UK terms) and the victorians just inherited their attitudes from the middle ages. The severely mentally distressed are amongst the most vulnerable and disempowered people you could imagine - if you are on a 'section' you have had your freedom taken away even though you haven't committed a crime and you can be forced to take medication you don't want and to live in places you don't want ie 'hospital' and the state of most psychiatric wards leaves plenty to be desired and I've been on a few (in a work capacity, fortunately never as a patient). Unfortunately I don't think cctv is really the answer, it's a whole shift in attitude that's required. The mental health system is basically geared towards management of risk as opposed to giving people the kind of help and support they need when they need it, it's about politicians trying to avoid sensationalist headlines in the gutter press while they're in office but the prejudices run deep in our society I'm afraid. The media whip us up into a frenzy of fear about 'psychopaths' and schizophrenic axe murderers while you and I are more likely to be killed by lightning than a mentally ill person. The consequence of the risk management approach is that staff in institutions are more like security than carers - the most extreme example was perhaps Ashworth hospital in Liverpool where a regime of brutality and degradation of patients was exposed a few years ago. Staff attitudes need to change but society's attitudes need to change too. personally I don't believe in 'mental illness' anyway, same as I don't believe in Asperger's - they're just words at the end of the day and what we're really dealing with is people and their diversity.



ljbouchard
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11 Jun 2005, 6:13 pm

OK, how do you intend to change the attitude of a society when even the school systems use that attitude as a method to invoke desireable behavior.

Case in point, the school district here uses the threat of putting a child on a special needs bus to make the child behave on their regular bus. This is especially helpful at the middle school age when attitudes such as those presented by rumio are formed.

The attitude will not be changed as long as the powers that be do not want it changed and the powers that be would rather we notice how we are different rather that how we are alike. That is how we keep fighting amongst ourselves rather than watching the watchers.


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Ante
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11 Jun 2005, 7:01 pm

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Nomaken
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12 Jun 2005, 12:15 am

If the majority of people(specifically the majority that actually goes out to vote on election day) were fairly educated, reasonable, and objective then yes. Major reforms should be done to all 3. But they aren't. The 3 will have good reforms done to them when the concept of putting any motherf***er in jail who breaks a major law for the rest of their lives being a bad idea is somehow made apparent to people in general. Because that was working for a good long time. Crime went down when we built a bunch of prisons and locked people up, but to people who study sociology, this is just fixing a symptom of some other problem in society and now that we've put away a good portion of the more violent and troublesome people and prisons have reached their cost effeciancy limit, they will become less effective. When it becomes obvious that putting enough people away to keep the crime rate stable or go down will cost increasingly impossible numbers, then people will rethink the concept and possibly include reforms. But no amount of intelligent reasoning will convince people at large, they need obvious physical evidence that personally inconviences them.



Ante
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12 Jun 2005, 7:52 am

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Scoots5012
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12 Jun 2005, 3:27 pm

AntiEverything wrote:
Does anyone agree something has to be done to reform police stations, prisons and mental hospitals now? What we need is CCTV in every single one and serious punishments for wardens and officers who abuse inmates.


However, while you do have a point, it goes against conventional thinking currently in place here in the US. Politicians (especially those who lean right of center) have crammed it down our throats for so long that people who are in prison deserve to be there, and that they deserve anything that happens to them in there, and that what we really need is not prison reform, but more and harsher prisons to "deter" people from commiting crimes to begin with, that such thinking for the most part has become commonly accepted amongst most of the US population.

I know in the UK there was prison reform in the early 90's, but here in the US, well... such thinking is considered anti-american, just ask anyone who was in attica prsion, circa 1971.

This would also be the time to ask anyone if they have ever heard of the stanford prison experiment?


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alex
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12 Jun 2005, 3:30 pm

Nomaken: that is an awesome avatar!


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BeeBee
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12 Jun 2005, 5:02 pm

Quote:
Shame on you, people. Get up and make an issue of it. We're all supposed to care about each other, and I especially expect all you Christians and Muslims to be the first with me on this.


I'm not ignoring it because I don't care but because I am already actively involved in other equally worthwhile causes.

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Sean
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13 Jun 2005, 4:44 pm

AntiEverything wrote:
The food needs to be healthy, why is it acceptable to feed people sludge? If prison inmates were fed healthy food they'd be a lot less violent. An experiment has proven that when a prison had a trail period of using organic food instead of the usual worse-than-schooldinners-fare inmates were much less violent and had more friendly attitudes. Incidents of reported wrongdoings fell a lot during the trial period. What better way to reform a real criminal than to make them even healthier than most of us who aren't criminals?

The Maricopa County (AZ) Sherrif's Department has had the best results going in the opposite direciton. They spend $0.69 per meal for inmates and $1.15 per meal for their K-9 units. The Sherrif moved the county jail out to a camp in a remote part of the Arizona dessert where they live in tents and the camp is patrolled by guards with attack dogs. Maricopa County has the lowest rate of repeat offenders in the nation.

I would aggree that there needs to be major reforms in the mental health system. Schitzophrenic serial killers found incompotent to stand trial or received a reduced scentence due to mental illness have more rights than those who have comitted no crime. The criminally insane have most of the rights of general population inmates where they have the right to informed consent where they can refuse treatment and I believe they are entitled to the same due process as general population inmates to appeal their scentence or file a lawsuit for any abuses. Private and government mental facilities don't. Additionally, prision guards constitute law enforcement and are suprvised by oversight procedures that also carry the power of law enforcement. No such due process or law enforcement oversight exists in the mental health system.

I would recommend assigning some form of law enforcement official to all public and private mental health faciclities for oversight and make full autopsies mandatory for any death that occurs in a mental health facility regardless of suspected cause. Additionally, in order to be declared "mentally defective" by a court, the person must be brought before a judge and be allowed to make a statement on their behalf to be considered in the decision. Last of all all mental patients not comitted due to any crime should be given the opportunity to periodically appeal their involuntary comittment.