Posted 5 years ago on March 23, 2013, 10:10 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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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
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