Voters Must Demand Sane Prison Reforms to Protect the Public Safety Demand release of the frail elderly and terminally ill from prisons. Build mental hospitals instead under an all new agency to free up 27,000 beds
It's excellent news that the Federal Receiver Robert Sillen has recommended building new hospitals instead of prisons and that Governor Schwarzenegger has announced initial support of that idea but...
What is critical in these reform efforts is that new hospitals are not put under the control of the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Corrections. These are two failed agencies that have a philosophy of punishing versus healing both medically and mentally ill prisoners. The need is clearly more for mental hospitals than general medical hospitals although this has not yet been defined.
I had a recent short talk at the July 12 hearing in San Francisco with Mr.Robert Sillen a couple days before his recommendation that new hospitals be built about taking the 27,000 mentally ill prisoners completely out of the system. It is a well known fact that their maltreatment is making them much sicker than before they were incarcerated.
The mentally ill are being prosecuted to extend their sentences while in prison
This prosecution of the mentally ill for minor acts such as masturbation is a racket.
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B. Cayenne Bird is a 45-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. A descendant of Mary Todd Lincoln, and General Andrew Porter, she is passionate about human rights and criminal justice issues. A mother and grandmother with advanced degrees in Journalism, Liberal Studies, and Humanities (Cultural Anthropology) she has focused on prison reform making great strides in Calif. supporting the landmark Plata-Coleman case for a decade which resulted in major prison reform. She writes scholarly articles too but prefers op-eds.