With our women currently held in lock-down since March, their access to communication with the outside world has been severely restricted. Add the additional 14 day quarantine of only an hour a day recreation, you have a mental health disaster that has not been documented enough.
We have read some written comments from the inmates, and some interviews that paint a picture of helplessness, agitation, and fear. As one woman prisoner wrote, “We are separated from our families that have been the social anchor people rely on.”
An example that we were made aware of, was a young lady in a dorm-style setting that would go into the ADA bathroom and talk to herself for hours. A woman guard did ask her if she was alright, but after no answer from the inmate went about her rounds. The next day the inmate announced she was going “to the palace” and ran out the door. This resulted in her being tackled by 4 big men, handcuffed, and strapped to a gurney. We asked a former guard about that and he said that situation is viewed as a “security threat” not a mental health crisis.
This is the same on the outside too, calling a cop to a mental health issue that he has absolutely NO training for, often with tragic results. Perryville’s solution to mental breakdowns is strip then naked, put them in a rubber suit, in a cell with nothing but a toilet. A guard is stationed outside the door to make sure she doesn’t harm herself. Allegedly, mental health counselors are called.
This is treatment? We asked a health professional about incidents if mental breakdowns during this crisis, and she confided the ladies that are putting in HNRs requesting counseling has gone up 100%.