June 30, 2023

Mental Health In TX Prisons Needs Overhaul

by Charles Thompson (author's profile)



The continual abuse of mentally ill prisoners is unconstitutional and cruel & unusual punishment. Texas continues to house mentally ill prisoners in security housing. Formerly known as Administrative segregation. It's a new title for an outdated broken form of torture.
By over medicating, ignoring the issues these human beings have gone from bad to worse. It's currently a failing system in the maximum security units in Tx.
What's needed is a 5 prong approach:
-Creation of a central Office Mental Health Ombudsman and mental health ombudsman at inpatient units.

- Creation of a Behaviour Risk Management Team (BRMT) comprising of one Psychologist, a part time psychiatrist and a part time psychiatric nurse, development and implementation of these positions.

- Creation of Quality Assurance instruments (MHIMI) - mental health inpatient monitoring instrument, and STAMI-Structured Therapeutic Activities monitoring instrument) to monitor mental health services in inpatient units; Policy revisions; targeted training for security staff, site visits conducted by OHS leadership.

- Creating of domatory style treatment facilities, providing adequate treatment space, more humane living conditions.

More staff correctional officers trained in dealing with these mentally ill patients. Regular audits and oversight by the correctional administration with interest in working with mental health aspects of care and custody.

- Creation of individual treatment plans agreed to by the patients.
- Use of group recreation for human interaction, group counseling settings. Group activities deemed appropriate for mental health.

- Tx has denied all inmates in security housing tablets. The direct cause and a clear positive effect upon a mentally ill patient using a tablet has been witnessed here on Tx Death Row. With the row being the one exception to the rule; the row got minimal content on tablets; religious, educational. No podcast, no games, no movies...YET Still having witnessed a positive change, and a calming effect upon said mentally ill prisoner clearly made the case for giving all inmates tablets.
Occupying the mind, the stimulating of audio video has had a clear positive effect upon several men who have lost hope, given up on life and otherwise stopped caring about anything life has to offer.
It's about time Tx got with the times, instead of being the worse prison system in the USA, current use of religious programs are a positive step in the right direction. As Paul said Less than the least of us - I am.
From a concerned prisoner who finds human rights abuses in this modern age disgusting. I digress.

Chuck Thompson


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