Alameda County jail violated civil rights by failing to supply correct psychological well being providers: DOJ

Alameda County in Northern California violated civil rights by failing to provide adequate mental health services, particularly in a prison where 19 people have committed suicide since 2014. This emerges from a federal report published on Thursday.

The US Department of Justice had set itself the goal of creating conditions for people with serious mental health problems, particularly in the Santa Rita prison, where a woman killed herself on April 2nd. It was the second prison suicide that year.

The federal report said there was “reasonable reason” to believe that the conditions in the Dublin prison were contrary to the US Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The report said the county failed to provide services to people with intellectual disabilities, including those at risk of suicide, isolating them too often, and unnecessarily shipping them to psychiatric hospitals or other restrictive accommodation.

“On any given day in Alameda County, hundreds of people are institutionalized for extended stays in one of several large, locked psychiatric facilities,” or the John George Psychiatric Hospital, a Justice Department statement said.

People with intellectual disabilities “cycle unnecessarily in and out of mental health facilities and prisons because they do not have access to proven services that would allow them to relax and participate in community life,” said Pamela S. Karlan of the Civil Justice Department Rights Division in the statement.

Sgt.Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County’s Sheriff’s Department, which operates the prisons, said the department was already working on addressing the issues identified in the report and in an ongoing 2018 federal lawsuit making similar allegations.

A federal judge is overseeing progress, he said.

Santa Rita Prison has approximately 2,200 inmates, making it one of the largest prisons, or prisons, in the nation.

Kelly estimated that nearly half of the inmates in prison have mental health problems, many of which are serious.

“Ultimately, this boils down to billions and billions of dollars in staff … in clinics and facilities,” he said. “We need an adequate criminal justice mental health facility linked to the (general) mental health system. We are working on that. “

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