Lawmakers decry Iowa mental health prison closure

From the article: “The lawmakers who sent the letter expressed concern that prisoners with mental health needs don’t acclimate well to change and by mixing them with the general inmate population it could stimulate behaviors that create an unsafe the working environment for corrections staff.”

There are always tough calls in budget season and it seems as though mental health services generally takes a huge cut.

A spokesman in the Governor’s office is quoted as saying that the new plan:

“more effectively utilizes the department’s resources” and inmates with mental health needs “will receive similar, if not greater, mental health care under this new plan.”

In Ohio, it seems as though there’s a new mental health grand reorganization plan every couple of years, with each one promising greater efficiency and services, but when you step back, it looks like less and less.  I think the problem is that the mentally ill inmate population often don’t know how to advocate for themselves – medical care is an easy, generally identifiable and fixable problem, but mental health care is unseen.  Inmates with mental health issues can remain untreated as long as they are docile, quietly decompensating, and the more disruptive mentally ill are treated as high security risks and locked down.  I hope someone’s watching to see whether the state really does offer “similar, if not greater” mental health care.
Read more here.
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