Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prison Psychiatry Review - 5.1.12 - Mike Nova's starred items

Google Reader - Mike Nova's starred items
Mike Nova's starred items

Prison Psychiatry Review - 5.1.12

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

British Journal of Psychiatry

Severe mental illness in 33 588 prisoners worldwide: systematic review and meta-regression analysis

Severe mental illness in 33 588 prisoners worldwide: systematic review and meta-regression analysis

  • Review article

    Severe mental illness in 33 588 prisoners worldwide: systematic review and meta-regression analysis

    1. Katharina Seewald, Bsc
    + Author Affiliations
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, UK
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, UK and Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Germany
    1. Correspondence: Seena Fazel, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Email: seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk
    • Declaration of interest


    High levels of psychiatric morbidity in prisoners have been documented in many countries, but it is not known whether rates of mental illness have been increasing over time or whether the prevalence differs between low–middle-income countries compared with high-income ones.
    To systematically review prevalence studies for psychotic illness and major depression in prisoners, provide summary estimates and investigate sources of heterogeneity between studies using meta-regression.
    Studies from 1966 to 2010 were identified using ten bibliographic indexes and reference lists. Inclusion criteria were unselected prison samples and that clinical examination or semi-structured instruments were used to make DSM or ICD diagnoses of the relevant disorders.
    We identified 109 samples including 33 588 prisoners in 24 countries. Data were meta-analysed using random-effects models, and we found a pooled prevalence of psychosis of 3.6% (95% CI 3.1–4.2) in male prisoners and 3.9% (95% CI 2.7–5.0) in female prisoners. There were high levels of heterogeneity, some of which was explained by studies in low–middle-income countries reporting higher prevalences of psychosis (5.5%, 95% CI 4.2–6.8; P = 0.035 on meta-regression). The pooled prevalence of major depression was 10.2% (95% CI 8.8–11.7) in male prisoners and 14.1% (95% CI 10.2–18.1) in female prisoners. The prevalence of these disorders did not appear to be increasing over time, apart from depression in the USA (P = 0.008).
    High levels of psychiatric morbidity are consistently reported in prisoners from many countries over four decades. Further research is needed to confirm whether higher rates of mental illness are found in low- and middle-income nations, and examine trends over time within nations with large prison populations.

    Severe mental illness in 33 588 prisoners worldwide: systematic review and ...
    British Journal of Psychiatry
    Correspondence: Seena Fazel, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Email: seena.fazel{at}psych.ox.ac.uk High levels of psychiatric morbidity in prisoners have been documented in many countries, but it is not known ...
  • via prisons - Google News on 4/27/12


    Prison officials want new sex crime for inmates
    The Journal News | LoHud.com
    (WTW) — Connecticut prison officials are asking for a new law that would label inmates who commit lewd acts in their cells as sex offenders. Department officials say it's an ongoing problem at prisons such as the high security Northern Correctional ...
    Prison Officials Go After Masturbating PrisonersNBC Connecticut

    all 21 news articles »

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/27/12
    Google Reader - Forensic Psychiatry News

    via prisons - Google News on 4/27/12

    Irish Times

    With Prison Ministry, Colson Linked Religion and Reform
    New York Times
    “Since the 1960s, prison reform has been seen as a leftist cause,” Robert Perkinson, a historian and the author of “Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire,” said this week. “But it used to be a Christian cause, and Colson played a big role in ...
    Mattingly: Why Colson spent Easter in prisonsReporterNews.com
    Chuck Colson: A Redemption StoryHuffington Post
    Guest Column / Wayne Hughes JrMalibu Times
    Wall Street Journal -Washington Post (blog) -World Magazine
    all 101 news articles »

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/30/12
    With Prison Ministry, Colson Linked Religion and Reform — Beliefs - NYTimes.com

    April 27, 2012

    Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
    Charles W. Colson, the Watergate figure, founded Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners.

    With Prison Ministry, Colson Linked Religion and Reform


    “Since the 1960s, prison reform has been seen as a leftist cause,” Robert Perkinson, a historian and the author of “Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire,” said this week. “But it used to be a Christian cause, and Colson played a big role in bringing prison reform back to Christian conservatism.”
    Dr. Perkinson was referring, of course, to Charles W. Colson, the convicted Watergate felon who died last Saturday. In his first act, Mr. Colson was “Nixon’s hatchet man” and “the ugliest of the Watergate thugs, the most shamelessly vicious,” as one historian wrote this week in The New Republic.
    But Mr. Colson, who found Jesus shortly before entering prison, remade himself as a free man, in 1976 founding what became Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners. In the process, he played an important role in the ever-changing relationship between prisons and religion. Historians of penology — there are many — remembered Mr. Colson as someone who, in a small way, pointed American prisons back toward their roots.
    Scholars speak of two rival impulses in American incarceration: one an older, Christian reform impulse and the other a disciplinary and retributive impulse, focused on punitive labor and harsh conditions, which gained strength in the slaveholding South.
    “Since the 1790s, religious reformers in some Eastern states successfully lobbied not only for the creation of prisons, but also for reformers’ influence in these institutions’ management,” Jennifer Graber, author of “The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons & Religion in Antebellum America,” wrote in an e-mail. “New York’s first prison, for example, had an operating board composed primarily of Quaker reformers.”
    Philadelphia’s earliest prisons were also influenced by Friends, or Quakers. They believed bad environments led people to crime. The theory, according to Joshua Dubler, of the University of Rochester, was that “you separate people out, and because every human being has a divine light inside of them, the divine light will thrive anew.”
    In these prisons, those who committed crimes could be penitents — hence the term “penitentiary” — then re-enter society as changed people. Jailers often relied on solitary confinement, which could drive prisoners mad, but the impulse, at least, was toward rehabilitation.
    But almost from the beginning that model was opposed by another model, in which the prison was mainly a place of punishment: think of chain gangs and labor farms. Over the centuries, each model has come in and out of vogue.
    In the 1960s, “we were at a progressive extreme” in prison theory, according to Dr. Dubler. Prison administrators pursued prisoners’ rehabilitation, while many inmates — including those, like Malcolm X, who joined the Nation of Islam — practiced “revolutionary, politically engaged religion.” Since the 1980s, however, with the trend toward more punitive prisons, prison religion, often supported by volunteers like those from Mr. Colson’s outreach group, has often been more about “adjusting to the system, not about changing the system itself,” Dr. Dubler said.
    Yet Mr. Colson advocated more humane, less crowded prisons; more prisoner contact with the outside world; more rehabilitative services; and better services for re-entry to society. Against the conservative and evangelical tides, Mr. Colson was, in a sense, returning to the spirit of the 1960s, or even the 1790s.
    A spokesman for Prison Fellowship pointed to studies — by New York Theological Seminary and the University of Pennsylvania, among others — that conclude that prison ministry turns inmates away from crime.
    But not all scholars are convinced.
    “Criminologists have convincingly shown that inmates involved in religious programming have fewer infractions while inside,” said Dr. Graber. “The data outside is much more difficult to interpret.”
    “Nobody knows if this stuff works,” said Winnifred F. Sullivan, a professor at the University at Buffalo and the author of “Prison Religion.” Because prisoners have to request to be part of Mr. Colson’s programs, they may be a more motivated population, Dr. Sullivan said, making it hard to determine the source of any eventual success.
    Dr. Sullivan praised Mr. Colson’s ministries for going where other angels fear to tread. “Few people want to do this work,” she said. But she agreed that while Mr. Colson allied with many liberals on prison reform, his brand of evangelical Christianity easily accommodated a conservative vision of society.
    The basic goal of Prison Fellowship Ministries “is to train people to be good productive workers in a capitalist society,” Dr. Sullivan said. The ministers want to teach people “to get up every morning and go to work and take care of their families. They say they just happen to use religion.”
    Dr. Perkinson, who teaches at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that Mr. Colson’s conservative faith may help inmates understand their own failings, but that it does little to help them understand society’s.
    “The thing that’s sad is you could have a prison tied to the social gospel or liberation theology, which could connect people to the sins and failings of the larger society,” Dr. Perkinson said. “But that’s not what they have access to.”
    Dr. Perkinson once visited the Carol S. Vance Unit, a Texas prison that subcontracts with Prison Fellowship for programming. Inmates can opt into the program, but cannot be forced to participate. He was both discomfited and amazed by what he saw.
    “On the one hand, it was flagrantly unconstitutional,” Dr. Perkinson said. “If you didn’t believe God created the earth in seven days, and not just that same-sex relations were a sin but so was masturbation, you couldn’t graduate from this program. It was almost Taliban-style. But it was the only prison of all that I visited in Texas that was permeated with love.”
    mark.e.oppenheimer@gmail .com; twitter.com/markopp1

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/27/12
    Kurdish Kids and Turkey's Shameful Prisons | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog

    Kurdish Kids and Turkey’s Shameful Prisons

    Children's Rights, Europe, Prisoners and People at Risk | Posted by: , April 27, 2012 at 9:08 AM
    turkish police arrest kurdish boy
    Turkish police arrest a Kurdish boy during a demonsration in main Kurdish city Diyarbakir on December 31, 2011 as they protest aginst a Turkish air raid.
    In 2010 the Turkish Parliament, reacting to criticism by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, modified their Anti-Terrorism Laws to end the prosecution of children in adult courts solely for taking part in demonstrations. Despite this change, children, and particularly Kurdish children, continued to be arrested, prosecuted, jailed and abused under other provisions in the Turkish Anti-Terrorism laws.
    What has taken place at Pozanti prison outside of Adana, Turkey, reveals just how badly children are being abused and mistreated under these laws. According to a report by members of the European Parliament, children in the prison were deprived of food and medical treatment, beaten while naked with iron bars by prison staff, and sexually abused by adult prisoners. As H.D. a 15-year-old, reported:

    “Some of our friends were molested many times. They beat us and forced us to undress. What we have been through cannot be put into words.”
    The abuses were reported to the Ministry of Justice, but only seven months later, after the abuses were publicized by a Kurdish news agency and on twitter, did the Justice Minister take action. His solution: move the children from Pozanti to another overcrowded children’s prison 500 kilometers away from their families and put them in single, camera-monitored cells. As for the three Kurdish reporters who published the story about the abuses, they were arrested a few days ago and charged with being members of a terrorist organization.
    April 23 was Children’s Day in Turkey. The Turkish NGO Followers of Justice for Children (ÇİAT) organized a forum in honor of the occasion. At it, a child victim of Turkey’s Anti-Terrorism Laws “who doesn’t prefer to tell his name speaks: ‘We didn’t kill anybody, we didn’t damage to property of anyone. Why are we kept in prison while people selling drugs are walking outside? Nothing happens to the drug-dealers. However, we are put in prison. We are beaten. We do not want to be put in prison any more.’”
    When the reporter asked why “he didn’t prefer to tell his name, he reminded [the reporter of] the child who was subjected to 40 years of penalty as he talked to press after he was released from Pozantı Prison.”
    If you are interested in the issue of Human Rights in Turkey, consider joining us on our Turkey Regional Action Network on Facebook.
    Tags: , , , , , ,
    This entry was posted on Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 9:08 am and is filed under Children's Rights, Europe, Prisoners and People at Risk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    Leave a Reply

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/27/12
    Google Reader - Forensic Psychiatry News

    European lawmakers dismayed at CIA prison probes
    VILNIUS, Lithuania—European lawmakers on Friday criticized two probes by Lithuanian authorities into alleged CIA prisons, describing them as contradictory and incomplete. The European Parliament members said that they would attempt to rekindle ...
    Lawmakers visit alleged CIA prison in LithuaniaFox News
    European lawmakers dismayed at Lithuania's contradictory probes into alleged ...Washington Post

    all 78 news articles »

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/28/12
    The Myth of Deterrence - NYTimes.com


    The Myth of Deterrence

    Published: April 27, 2012
    One of the most frequently made claims about the death penalty is that it deters potential murderers. That was the claim when the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. It is the claim today after a revival of research about the topic in the last decade.
    Opinion Twitter Logo.

    Connect With Us on Twitter

    For Op-Ed, follow @nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow @andyrNYT.
    But a distinguished committee of scholars working for the National Research Council has now reached the striking and convincing conclusion that all of the research about deterrence and the death penalty done in the past generation, including by some first-rank scholars at the most prestigious universities, should be ignored.
    The committee found that the research “is not informative about whether capital punishment increases, decreases, or has no effect on homicide rates.” No study looks at what really matters, by comparing the deterrent effects of capital punishment with other penalties, like life without parole. A lot of the research assumes that “potential murderers respond to the objective risk of execution,” but only one in six of the people sentenced to death in the last 35 years have been executed and no study properly took that diminished risk into account.
    “Nothing is known about how potential murderers actually perceive their risk of punishment,” said the criminologist Daniel Nagin, chairman of the committee.
    The committee was careful to say what it did not examine, including the proven risk that an innocent person could be sentenced to death and the fact that the administration of capital punishment could well be discriminatory.
    On Wednesday when Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy, signed the state’s new law abolishing the death penalty, these problems were on his mind. As a former supporter of capital punishment, he said that he “came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.”
    The 33 states that retain the death penalty should follow that lead.
    A version of this editorial appeared in print on April 28, 2012, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: The Myth of Deterrence.

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/29/12
    Obama Budget: Grow Prisons and Keep Gitmo | Mother Jones

    Obama Budget: Grow Prisons and Keep Gitmo

    As broke states try to shed nonviolent inmates, the federal detention machine looks to expand.

    | Wed Feb. 22, 2012 4:00 AM PST
    Prison Thomas Hawk/Flickr
    President Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2013 includes cuts to everything from Medicare and Medicaid to defense and even homeland security. But federal prisons are among its "biggest winners," according to an analysis by the Federal Times. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is seeking a 4.2 percent increase, one of the largest of any federal agency, which would bring its total budget to more than $6.9 billion.
    So what kind of criminals are we spending all this money to incarcerate? If you're thinking terrorists and kidnappers, think again. According to the Sentencing Project, only 1 in 10 federal prisoners is locked up for a violent offense of any kind. More than half are drug offenders—hardly surprising, since federal prosecutions for drug offenses more than doubled between 1984 and 2005. The 1980s also produced mandatory minimum sentences, which meant we were not only sending more people to prison, we were keeping them there far longer—a perfect formula for an exploding prison population.
    "Increasing funding for more prison beds has been shown to be a self-fulfilling prophecy," notes the Justice Policy Institute. "If you build it, they will come."
    Indeed, the federal prison population ballooned from fewer than 25,000 inmates in 1980 to 210,000 in 2010—an eightfold increase—while the federal prison budget grew by a whopping 1,700 percent. Nowadays, as state prison populations have begun to fall for the first time in decades—the product of a steady decline in violent-crime rates, lawsuits over prison conditions, and deficits that have forced state officials to rethink their incarceration policies—the number of federal inmates continues to grow by about 3 percent a year. The projected 2013 federal prison population is 229,268 inmates—6,500 or more than in 2012. "Increasing funding for more prison beds has been shown to be a self-fulfilling prophecy," notes the Justice Policy Institute. "If you build it, they will come."
    According to Obama's new budget, new federal prisons opening in Mississippi and West Virginia will house some 2,500 of those additional prisoners. Another 1,000 will be placed in private prisons—which now hold 18 percent of federal prisoners, far more than most state systems. The remainder of the new inmates will presumably be jammed into the existing federal prison facilities, which are already operating at 142 percent of capacity.
    Factored into the budget request is $44 million in savings from an expansion of programs that let prisoners shave time off their sentences by behaving well and participating in educational and vocational programs, plus a compassionate release program for seriously ill inmates who have served most of their time—a smart move for the BOP, since it would shift its costliest medical cases onto Medicaid. But there's no guarantee that these "program offsets" will pass, especially given that Congress nixed similar proposals last year.
    Conspicuously absent from the Obama budget is an item the administration requested for 2011 and 2012: money to purchase and retrofit a disused Illinois prison to serve as Gitmo North, a home for detainees now held at Guantanamo Bay. Since late 2009, Obama has floated plans to buy Thomson state prison and convert it into a second supermax for Gitmo residents who were tried and convicted on American soil. But Congress has yet to come through with the cash, and it seems, at least in this budget, that the White House has thrown in the towel.
    If the federal government acquires Thomson, it will not be for the purpose of replacing Guantanamo, but "to meet critical federal prison capacity needs," a Department of Justice spokesperson told TPM. In other words, we could end up with Gitmo on top of a new federal supermax like the one in Florence, Colorado—the closest thing to a torture chamber that exists in America today.The Sentencing ProjectChart courtesy of the Sentencing Project

    James Ridgeway

    Senior Correspondent
    James Ridgeway is a senior correspondent at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. RSS | Twitter

    If You Liked This, You Might Also Like...

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/29/12
    Licking County Jail seeks solution to suicide jumps | The Newark Advocate | NewarkAdvocate.com

    NEWARK -- In nine months, at least three inmates required hospitalization for jumping from jail modules, leaving sheriff's office supervisors questioning how they can make the space safe.
    "It's something that's happening in jails across the country," Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said.
    But at least three area jails aren't facing the same problems, administrators said.
    One concern is how the jail was designed. The Licking County jail has several modules with tiers and open spaces so deputies can monitor inmates, Thorp said.
    On March 28, a male inmate in module C jumped about eight feet onto a pingpong table he had slid into position earlier, Licking County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Brown said.
    The inmate was taken to Licking Memorial Hospital for treatment and was released shortly afterward. He was not on suicide watch, Brown said.
    On Nov. 19, a female inmate was flown to Grant Medical Center in Columbus after falling about 15 feet toward tables in the center of the women's module. She was treated and returned to jail.
    On July 12, an inmate died of injuries he sustained after jumping from a railing in module B.
    Many jails were built with open spaces, but some sheriffs are questioning whether that's the safest configuration, Thorp said.
    The Muskingum, Fairfield and Delaware county jails were not built with open designs, making jumps difficult if not impossible, administrators said. The three facilities have not had inmate suicides in recent years.
    "The physical plan is different," said Lt. Randy Wilson, Muskingum County jail administrator.
    Thorp said his office is looking at alternatives, such as putting up a net, but that could restrict visibility or introduce flammable materials into the space, Thorp said.
    "We are looking at a netting or screening," said Brown, adding that jail personnel need to be sure the new material is appropriate for the facility.
    Some changes were made in 2011 after two inmates died after hanging themselves and another died from injuries sustained in a jump. Jail officials assigned deputies to specific modules so they would better understand the behavior of inmates in those areas, Brown said.
    Deputies also advised visitors to let deputies know if their incarcerated relatives expresses suicidal thoughts or seem off, Brown said.
    Another concern is the growing number of incarcerated people with mental health issues, Thorp said.
    Licking County Jail's year-end reports indicate more people with mental health and substance abuse problems are housed there, Brown said.
    It's the more mild conditions that have increased; serious mental health problems have not changed in the past 10 years, said Bob Hammond, chief of the mental health bureau for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
    Ohio's prison system prioritizes those inmates who require more management and psychotropic medications, such as schizophrenia or head injuries, Hammond said. About 10,000 prisoners fall into that really severe category, he said.
    The prison system has options for housing potentially suicidal individuals ranging from four residential treatment centers or intensive outpatient programs to including them in the general population, Hammond said.
    Jails do not have as many options, he said.
    In Licking County, a mental health staff of three assesses people entering the jail; the facility is accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and American Correctional Association, Thorp said.
    That differs from the Muskingum, Fairfield and Delaware county jails that contracted with outside agencies for mental health treatment.
    But many people in jail should probably be elsewhere receiving help, Thorp said.
    "We aren't really suited to be a mental health facility," Thorp said.
    The space isn't therapeutic, said Brown, adding that deputies have to lift a person in a wheelchair in and out of bed.
    "We're not equipped for that," Brown said.
    Jessie Balmert can be reached at (740) 328-8548 or jbalmert@ newarkadvocate.com.

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/29/12
    Sexual abuse in prisons - The Washington Post

    Sexual abuse in prisons

    Sexual abuse in prisons
    Editorial Board APR 29
    The Justice Department has put off a crackdown for too long.

    Sexual abuse in prisons

    By Editorial Board, Published: April 29

    TENS OF THOUSANDS of men, women and children have been sexually abused behind bars over the past three years while the Obama administration dithered.

    The Justice Department was charged with implementing regulations for correctional institutions and detention facilities that would reduce the scourge of sexual violence behind bars. The administration had, by law, until June 2010 to complete the task. That was nearly two years ago.

    Congress unanimously approved the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003 with rare and spectacular bipartisanship. Ideological opposites — Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and the late Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) — were lead sponsors. The act created a commission that spent six years studying sexual abuse in correctional facilities and crafting thoughtful proposals to decrease such violence.

    The commission was led by Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a judge known for his tough law-and-order approach. It included representatives from academia and the private corrections industry and prisoner advocates. The panel issued recommendations in the summer of 2009; the Obama administration had a year to craft regulations.

    Instead, the Justice Department needlessly duplicated the commission’s work, re-interviewing dozens of individuals and groups whose views the panel had considered. It waited while a private consulting firm analyzed the costs of implementing changes, and it blamed the bureaucratic process for delays. It did not, in other words, move with all deliberate speed to protect those in government custody from a form of brutality that leaves psychological scars that can hamper a person’s reintegration into society. Swift and sure action would have been the appropriate response if the administration had been serious about refuting the vile assumption that sexual abuse is an acceptable byproduct of incarceration.

    The administration deserves credit for endorsing some provisions that did not sit well with the corrections industry at large, including a prohibition on cross-gender pat-downs and strip searches of juveniles and the conclusion that PREA covers not just rape but a broader category of sexual abuse. It should apply these policies to federal immigration detention centers. Everyone in custody — regardless of the type of institution — should be able to know that the government is doing everything in its power to ensure humane and safe conditions. And juveniles should enjoy the strongest protections.

    Some with direct knowledge of the status of the regulations say they are in the last stages of review by the Office of Management and Budget and could be out within weeks. We certainly hope so.

    Mike Nova's starred items

    via Behavior and Law by Mike Nova on 4/30/12
    Prisons often withhold death reports | | The Bulletin

    Prisons often withhold death reports

    By The Associated Press
    Published: February 14. 2012 4:00AM PST
    The Oregon State Penitentiary is seen in Salem in November 2011. Seventy-nine inmates died in Oregon prisons in the past two years, and the Department of Corrections said nothing to the public about all but one of them. The Statesman Journal compiled the information from internal prison reports obtained through public records law, court filings and other documents. - Danielle Peterson / Salem Statesman Journal
    Danielle Peterson / Salem Statesman Journal
    The Oregon State Penitentiary is seen in Salem in November 2011. Seventy-nine inmates died in Oregon prisons in the past two years, and the Department of Corrections said nothing to the public about all but one of them. The Statesman Journal compiled the information from internal prison reports obtained through public records law, court filings and other documents.
    SALEM — Seventy-nine inmates in Oregon prisons died over a two-year span, but the state Department of Corrections made only one of those deaths public.
    The prisons agency has no plan to change its policy of making public only those deaths of “certain high-profile or notorious inmates,” the Salem Statesman Journal reported Monday.
    The newspaper was able to compile information about the other deaths from internal prison reports obtained through public records law, court filings and other documents.
    Most inmates were dead of natural causes, but among the unreported deaths in 2010-11 was a prisoner who died of a suspected drug overdose and a convict who cut his wrist.
    The DOC also did not report deaths due to natural causes in the system that holds 14,000 inmates.
    Another death involved Richard Gifford, 22, who was developmentally disabled and died in a segregation cell at the state penitentiary in May 2010. An autopsy determined that he died of an “intravenous injection of undetermined drug or toxin.”
    Gifford’s mother has filed a federal civil rights suit against the state, alleging that prison mental health workers failed to properly treat him and ignored his warnings that he was suicidal. It also alleges that staff members in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit frequently failed to make required checks on the inmate.
    The department withheld reports on his death, citing the litigation.
    The department did issue a news release when Shelly Resnick died in her cell in May at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, where she was serving time from Multnomah County for stealing checks from her work as a courier company employee.
    She hanged herself, the medical examiner’s office reported.
    “We posted the passing of Shelly Resnick because her crime and conviction was covered by the media, and we thought it would be of particular interest,” said Jennifer Black, spokeswoman for the Corrections Department.
    She said the department gives state legislative leaders quarterly reports on inmate deaths and submits inmate-death data periodically to the U.S. Department of Justice’s statistics bureau.
    The prison system has 14,000 inmates in 14 prisons throughout the state.
    The Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem had the largest number of inmate deaths during 2010-11, with 31, followed by 23 at the Snake River Correctional Institution near Ontario, 11 at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla, five at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, four at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem and two at Coffee Creek.
    Three prisons each had a single death during the same time period: Columbia River Correctional Institution in Portland, South Fork Forest Camp in the Coast Range and Deer Ridge Correctional Institution near Madras.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment