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SACRAMENTO — Videotapes released Thursday by a federal court show mentally ill prisoners in California being forced from their cells by guards who douse them repeatedly with pepper spray. Some of the inmates are being forced to comply with medication orders; others are to be moved to new cells.
In one tape shot in July of last year at California State Prison at Corcoran, a screaming, naked prisoner is sprayed five times in 15 minutes before being tackled to the ground by about half a dozen guards and then strapped to a gurney.
His prison psychiatrist testified that the psychotic inmate had lost touch with reality and needed emergency medication. "When we order involuntary medications, the inmate is told they will receive medications whether they like it or not," said the psychiatrist, Dr. Ernest Wagner.
This is not about whether these people committed crimes or not. It is about how we treat those in enforced helplessness and those of them who are mentally ill. Granted many violent offenders may not be mentally ill at all perhaps just evil or operating on their basest instincts. Still many thousands of them are definitely operating in diminished capacity and our treatment of them is outright barbaric.
I would say that each and every violent offender is mentally ill. Normal people just do not go around inflicting violence on other living things.
I suggest volunteering with some type of reintegration program, even if it's only for a week or two. It will totally change the way you think about prisoners.
The state has thrown the criminal boogeyman in the face of its citizens since a young age, and it's hard to get that mental programming rewritten.
Doubtful I would volunteer for that but could you explain how this would change my thoughts on prisoners? I see them as human beings who through choice or circumstance have fallen into our prison industrial complex. That it makes their mental heath worse probably is a given.
reply to post by Bassago
I'd rather be killed by SWAT than delivered into the hands of those who commit these atrocities. The US penal system is beyond broken and so is support for basic mental health.