Source — The Boston GlobeRead country-profile
USA: Massachussets unlawfully isolates mentally ill inmates
One inmate, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, became so distraught after months in the prison’s isolation unit that he began talking to himself and counting compulsively.
Another, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, declined so much in isolation that he smeared himself with feces.
A third, with a lengthy history of bipolar disorder, wrote a desperate letter from the segregation unit at MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole:
“I’m feeling paranoid and isolated, claustrophobic… . I feel like I’m being tortured, which basically I am.”
The plights of the three men are among eight cases documented by a prisoners’ advocacy group in a troubling new report to Governor Charlie Baker. The group charges that the state is unlawfully placing men with serious mental illness in solitary confinement despite a five-year-old legal agreement to end the practice.
Attorneys for Prisoners’ Legal Services, who reviewed cases of mentally ill inmates at two state prisons, found eight with histories of suicide attempts and illnesses as serious as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who have been sentenced to isolation for months, if not years, for disciplinary infractions.
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