END PROLONGED SOLITARY CONFINEMENT by Dr. Mariposa McCall, Psychiatrist

On February 8, 2018, I along with Dr. Everett Allen (an internist who worked for several years at California Pelican Bay State Prison's solitary confinement), Cyrus Ahalt (a UCSF Public Health and Criminal Justice researcher), and Steven Czifra (a UC Berkeley MSW intern who was confined in solitary confinement for eight years while in juvenile then adult corrections facilities), presented on the relevance of solitary confinement to community mental health at the California Contra Costa County Psychiatry and Psychology monthly meeting.

Solitary confinement is being held in a small cell for 22 to 24 hours a day with minimal property and no meaningful human contact. We reviewed the physical and psychological harms of this most restrictive housing placement. In addition, we explored the dual loyalties for providers as they participate in this practice. As providers, is it ethical to declare someone fit for this high risk containment? This is what is happening — we are witnesses and participants.

Canada's Supreme Court declared solitary confinement unconstitutional in January 2018. A few months later, India, too, acknowledged this preventable harm. When will this nation reach this decision? On any given day in the USA, 100,000 are held in these extreme conditions, some unconscionably for years and decades. Fifty percent of suicides occur in these restrictive segregations, and self injurious behaviors are rampant.

This is preventable. We, as providers, will see these individuals as patients when released. Ninety-five percent of those incarcerated will be released. As community members, we will walk, shop, eat, live with them. Do we want traumatized or rehabilitated individuals? Some of you may feel this issue does not pertain to you, but ethical guidelines of "first do no harm" and human rights concern us all.

I am hoping you will join me in signing the petition I wrote to end prolonged solitary confinement (greater than 15 days) in American jails, prisons, and detention centers. Please share with others. Click on link below to read and sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/helping-professional-organizations-end-prolonged-solitary-confinement

Photo credit: Tim Pearce/Flickr.com

Photo credit: Tim Pearce/Flickr.com

LETTER FROM TRAVIS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT by Travis Christian

 

2-15-18

Dede,

Thank you for writing me. I'm dealing with some spiritual issues. It's easier to just give up than it is to fight. I've got myself in trouble and now I have to face the music. Honestly, I don't like the song. But that's life. 

My life is a wreck. It's not going to be easy to keep it together. Isolation just accelerates my mental/spiritual illness. I don't believe in mental illness. Well, in my case, I know my problem is a spiritual problem. I'm in isolation because I hit a psych tech. Who does that?

I'm learning about myself. It's painful. I wasn't let out of my cell today. I could complain all day but it's not going to change anything. I'm just trying to be strong. 

So what happened to Patrick? I appreciate your reaching out to me. I know my mom is fighting her butt off for me. She told me your son died. I'm sorry to hear that. So what does your blog do?

I believe I have a mental illness. I'm scared I won't get help. I'm afraid I'm going to die. I don't know what to say. I can't concentrate. I regret hitting that psych tech. I need help. I feel like I'm dying. I need to be positive.

I hope you're well. Good luck with your blog and book. I'm thankful to be alive still. I want to live. Nice meeting you. Thank you for your prayers.

Travis

Travis can receive cards and letters. No books. Thank you so much.

Since this post, Travis, due to health reasons, has been moved. His current mailing address is the following:
Mens Colony
Travis Christian
cdc#bb8099
Mental Health Crisis Bed
PO BOX 8103
Colony Dr.
San Luis Obispo, California
93409


 

Letter from Travis 2-15-2018

Letter from Travis 2-15-2018