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NCJ Number: 67283 Find in a Library
Title: VIOLATION OF PSYCHIATRIC STANDARDS OF CARE IN PRISONS
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY  Volume:137  Issue:5  Dated:(MAY 1980)  Pages:566-570
Author(s): E KAUFMAN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS EVALUATION OF THE PSYCHIATRIC CARE IN THREE U.S. PRISON SYSTEMS FINDS MAJOR PROBLEMS IN PRISON ARCHITECTURE, STAFF PERSONNEL, THE PRESCRIPTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF MEDICATION, AND PUNITIVE ATTITUDES.
Abstract: THREE PRISONS WERE EVALUATED AGAINST STANDARDS SET UP BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION, AND THE AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION. A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PRISONERS (THE RANGE IS FROM 3 TO 63 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF INSTITUTION AND THE DIAGNOSTICE CRITERIA) REQUIRE PSYCHIATRIC CARE. MAJOR VIOLATIONS OF STANDARDS OCCUR BECAUSE OF PRISON ARCHITECTURE. BADLY DESIGNED BUILDINGS WITHOUT PROVISIONS FOR PSYCHIATRIC CARE, INSUFFICIENT SPACE FOR PRISONERS, LACK OF OUTSIDE RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, NO FACILITIES FOR OCCUPATIONAL OR RECREATIONAL THERAPY OR LIMITED FACILITIES FOR VOCATIONAL ACTIVITIES, AND SHORTAGES OF PSYCHOTHERAPY ROOMS WERE MAJOR SHORTCOMINGS. MISUSES OF PSYCHIATRY ALSO OCCUR. THE MISUSE OF PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS; THE INEFFECTIVE PRESCRIPTION, DISPENSING AND ADMINISTERING OF DRUGS; AND IN THE CONDONING OF BRUTAL RESTRICTIVE PRACTICES TO PROTECT INMATES FROM HURTING THEMSELVES ARE SOME OF THESE. PRISON CONDITIONS THEMSELVES CAN LEAD TO MENTAL ILLNESS BECAUSE OF SERIOUS OVERCROWDING AND/OR CAN RESULT IN USE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR MENTALLY ILL INMATES WITH IMPAIRED COPING SKILLS. A NEED EXISTS FOR CAREFUL APPLICATION OF THE BASIC STANDARDS OF CARE OUTLINED BY THE AGENCIES LISTED ABOVE. SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE MINIMUM STAFFING STANDARDS: A FULLTIME PSYCHIATRIST, A PH.D. PSYCHOLOGIST, AND A MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM OF THERAPEUTIC PROFESSIONALS AND PARAPROFESSIONALS FOR EVERY PRISON OF 500-1000 INMATES. IN VIEW OF THE LIMITS IMPOSED BY THE PHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF THE PRISONS, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT MENTALLY DISTURBED PRISONERS BE TRANSFERRED TO PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS OUTSIDE THE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. LEGAL ACTION IS RECOMMENDED TO ENSURE THAT DESPERATELY NEEDED CHANGES ARE EFFECTED. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (MFE)
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional institutions (juvenile); Prisoner's rights; Psychiatric services; Standards
Note: PRESENTED AT THE 132D ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION, CHICAGO, IL, MAY 12-18, 1979
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67283

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