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Tammy Seltzer, '97 in the W. Post on Prisoner Mental Health Treatment

Tuesday, November 27, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Tammy Seltzer, '97 Why does California have one thousand percent more mentally ill prisoners than the federal system? It doesn't, but according to this disturbing Washington Post expose, "No One to Talk You Down: Inside federal prisons’ dangerous failure to treat inmates with mental-health disorders," under the Trump Administration, the federal Bureau of Prisons has addressed its prison mental health problems in part by defining seriously disturbed inmates as not seriously mentally ill. This definition results in their under-treatment and a predictably wide array of problems, from prison suicides, assault and murder to increased difficulty obtaining disability designation for returning citizens. According to the article, while the federal system prisoner rate of serious mental illness is 3%, California's rate is 30%, New York's is 21% and Texas' rate is 20%.

Tammy Seltzer, '97, Director of the DC Jail & Prison Advocacy Project (JPAP) at University Legal Services (ULS), who was quoted and heavily relied upon for this article featuring one of her clients, says "Federal prisons were told to improve inmates’ access to mental-health care. They’ve failed miserably. New data reveals an unsettling link between denying inmates treatment for mental health issues and an increase in violence and self-harm in federal prisons."

 


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