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Forum Post: Salinas Valley prison psychiatrist says mental health hospital suffering

Posted 1 year ago on March 23, 2013, 10:10 p.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
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A doctor from Salinas Valley State Prison's once state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital has contradicted California's assurances to federal judges that mentally ill inmates no longer have to wait for hospital beds.

Dr. John Brim said in a recent sworn deposition that waiting lists for the beds still exist and hospital supervisors are pressuring psychiatrists to shuffle patients out of mental health crisis beds before they are ready to keep waiting list numbers down.

Brim said prison officials have cut back on soap, clean sheets and other essentials. His deposition was taken March 1 as part of two decadelong inmate lawsuits. The class-action suits led to creation of the Salinas Valley mental health facility as well as a Supreme Court order to drastically reduce California's prison population on the grounds that overcrowding has hindered proper medical and mental health care.

Decrying heavy caseloads and staff shortages, Brim testified the Salinas Valley prison's mental health unit had a waiting list of about 20 patients.

His statements contradict January court filings by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration that say patients no longer have to wait for mental health beds in the state's prisons.

"By July 2012, the state had successfully guaranteed timely access to inpatient mental health care for all class members needing hospitalization," Brown's filing reads.

Another document filed by the state in January said California now provides "timely access to quality mental health treatment at all levels of care."

But Brim suggested psychiatrists are under pressure to try to keep the waiting lists low, even at the cost of patient care Read the rest here


Mental Health Care in California Prisons Still in Crisis Sworn Testimony in Court Filing by Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld and Co-Counsel Shows that Overcrowding, Dangerous and Inhumane Conditions and Severe Staffing Shortages Persist Two Years after Supreme Court Ruling Published Monday, Mar. 18, 2013

Read the rest here

6 Comments

6 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Narley (295) 1 year ago

Treating mental health is a broad topic. Truth is mental health is rarely treated in or out of prison. Mental illness is almost the forgotten illness.

I worked in one of the largest mental health institutions, in a non-medical capacity, for a number of years. My observation is treatment = sedation for the most part.

For example, a suicidal person is brought in, medicated and counseled, and released within a few days with little or no follow-up. Drug and alcohol abusers are medicated given a bed overnight and released the next day. Even the more severe psychotic are normally drugged and released.

Almost any mental health professional will tell you successfully treating mental illness is an ongoing effort. Ongoing counseling, monitoring medications and working closely with the individual for a long time. Only those with good insurance or a very caring family will be successful.

I understand this thread is about mental health in prisons, but treatment may be better in prison than society in general because the prisoner is a captive audience.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

No, and it isn't cost effective either.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Mental health can often be made real by a physical examination that looks at the balance of the bodies vitamins minerals enzymes and amino acids. Checking for allergies and deficiencies. Addressing the allergies imbalances and deficiencies - LOOK INTO THE KARL PFIFFER CLINICS.

[-] 2 points by Narley (295) 1 year ago

I can only attest to my personal observations working in a large inpatient and outpatient mental health hospital for a number of years. I worked in a non-medical job, but had daily contact with patients and staff. It was a scary place, and you never let your guard down. I was attacked a couple times by patients.

Having treatment available and a having the patient use it are two different things. We can’t just lock them up like we used to.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

No - lock-up is not the key - one of my nieces was diagnosed as bipolar. My sister sent her to a Karl Pfifer Clinic and had her metabolism charted. She now controls her condition - SUCCESSFULLY - with nutritional supplements.

[-] 0 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

The top income tax rate in California is 13% , the highest in the nation. Clearly the money is being funneled to public employee unions and not the needy.