Just the Photo Says Enough: The Brutal Treatment of Mentally Ill People in US Prisons

Posted: May 22, 2015 in Criminal Justice, Mental Health
Tags: , , , , ,

Capt. Shawn Welch sprays OC spray into the face of Paul Schlosser who is bound in a restraint chair after the inmate, who has an infectious disease, spit at an officer.  June 10, 2012.

This disturbing photo is from an excellent article on Solitary Watch about the inhumane and brutal treatment of mentally ill people in US prisons. In my ten years teaching minors locked up in a New York adult county prison, I witnessed inmates who were  clearly disturbed and dealing with mental health issues being pepper sprayed and tased by emergency response teams (ERTs) dressed in intimidating riot gear as a way to “calm them down.”

Our prisons are overcrowded with mentally ill people who get little to no treatment, handled by people not trained in these issues, all because Americans refuse to confront the needs of the poor and disenfranchised and to provide the funds necessary for proper community mental health services. Instead we, through our lawmakers, spend billions of dollars on war in its many forms.

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Comments
  1. There are mentally ill, physically ill, homeless and hungry US citizens all over this country. We send billions in aid to other countries, but helping our own is looked upon as ‘handouts” and “entitlements”. So wrong……

    • David Chura says:

      Good point. But we don’t even have to look to aid to other countries. How about all the tax breaks/benefits given corporations which no calls “handouts”? The poor, the sick, the disenfranchised just don’t count in America.

      • Touche! You are right-all a company has to do is threaten to move their business elsewhere and the tax breaks/benefits are offered. You could call it industrial blackmailing.

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