Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mental Health Services in a Correctional setting

Inmates often have better access to medical and mental health services while they are incarcerated than when they are out on the street.  (Of course I will state that often most seem to not bother to seek services while they are out.)  In a correctional setting, treatment is regimented and defined.  It may not offer the celerity or convenience of a doc-in-a-box, but  you will get treatment.  

I would like to point out on an aside that treatment is regulated on an "As Needed" basis.  Heart attack or broken leg?  You get to ride the ambulance to the hospital, along with matching silver bracelets and a guard to match.  Back pain or toothache?  You aren't going to die from it so we'll get you some ibuprofen until the doctor can see you and determine if you are a drug seeker or are in valid need.  

Today, I want to talk a little about Mental Health Services.  At one time, there was a lot of money flowing from the state and there was a large number of beds at the forensic unit.  Then the funds dried up, and bed space was lost.  Currently, getting any type of mental health involves a lot of waiting.  We had one violent, destructive inmate take approximately 8 months before he was picked up for housing in a proper forensic environment.  

Recently we have been holding the son of a rather... influential family.  They have money, connections, and resources.  But the "kid" was caught red handed, and he confessed to his string of crimes.  I'm not comfortable with discussing the specific mental health treatment he was receiving, but I will only state that it can easily be classified as "minor."  (This requires a lot more discussion, but for his privacy and the fact that this issue/case is ongoing I shall refrain from expounding upon it.)  

Long story short, a few weeks prior to his court case the "kid" stops taking his pill.  And then he acted up in court.  And thus the defense requested a mental competency evaluation.  Normally we see a turnaround of months before an inmate will be picked up for such an evaluation.  BAM!  Pretty boy is out and receiving treatment.  

Money talks, and in the courts you get what you pay for.  

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