Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Are we Torturing the Mentally Ill

That is the title of this article about solitary confinement in prisons. I can only give my experience on the matter.  I was in prison in the nineteen eighties and it was a lot different back then it is now.  I was at Buena Vista prison and was on South wing and there is only one more wing to go to that is east wing where a person can wear street clothes and have more privileges.  I was happy in south wing as far as prisons go.  I had a gambling house and we watched the broncos and had burritos whenever the game was on.  So I was set in my ways and really did not want to go to east wing.
They made me go.  Also on south wing I had a partner with my gambling house.   He did not go to east wing just me.  I kept on gambling was having problems on the streets with my ex.  Finally one of the guards busted me for gambling.  I was angry and went to the hearing not understanding what was going on. They sentenced me to three days in the hole or solitary confinement.  I was very angry going to the hole.  I remember being locked in the cell and that is as far as I remember.  The next thing I knew I was in another cell not knowing what was going on and also insane. I know I was paranoid and not understanding what was going on. I could not comprehend what was going on.
I cut myself with a razor it did no damage but it got the guard attention and they put me in a cell with cameras so they could watch me and there is nothing worse than being watched all the time.  A doctor I knew came by and looked in at me.  The next morning they took me to Canon city where they had an infirmary and the psychiatrist asked me questions. He though I was just sleep deprived.  The two times I been in the hole this time I did not remember anything.  It is just a jail in a jail.  Although you do not see your friends also you eat in your cell so you do not get any company at all.  It can play with your mind.
After a while in canon after they started giving me sleeping pills I settled down and was not so paranoid the doctor asked where I would like to go and I said here in canon city.  I was not the same though.  I went back to the hospital one more time before I won my appeal and was freed. It wasn’t fun back then as it is not fun now to do time in the hole.  You have to be very strong to make it in the hole and come out sane.  It does play on your mind only seeing guards and not inmates while you are in the hole.  When I was doing time there were not that many inmates that were mentally ill at the time and in jail.
I hate the state hospital although it is a better solution when you are mentally ill than prison.  They can treat you and others like yourself are in there.  You cannot be in general population when you are mentally ill because your mind plays to many tricks on you and there are people who are going to do life in prison and they will not put up with someone who is mentally ill.  They really need to separate the two.  Here is an article on a new drug for schizophrenia that is successful in reversing schizophrenia.

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