Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Report singles out federal prison in PA for poor treatment of mentally ill

The Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Justice  issued a report on criticizing the Bureau of Prison's (BOP) treatment of inmates with mental illnesses. The report singles out  a prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, having a pending lawsuit against it, alleging that the institution mistreated prisoners and denied adequate mental health services. According to the report, the BOP is violating its own recently implemented policy by keeping prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement for toolong and denying them medical treatment. The American Correctional Association recommends that solitary confinement cells be no smaller than 80 square feet, but those at Lewisburg are a mere 58.5 square feet.
 Prisoners who suffer from mental illness are confined with other afflicted inmates which often results in violent confrontations that cause serious injuries or death. The report also found that many who arrive at Lewisburg prison with mental disorders are denied treatment and medication. "We believe that the additional requirements established by the new policy, along with no increase in mental health staffing, resulted in institution mental health staffs reducing the number of inmates, who are required to receive more frequent mental health care." According to NPR, the BOP's acting director agreed to conduct a "comprehensive review" of Lewisburg prison and adopt the recommendations provided by the report.
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