Today the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filed a court-ordered plan to improve the treatment of mentally ill inmates in segregated units. CDCR will create specialized units for the inmates and provide them with more treatment and out-of cell time. Prison officials will also begin a case-by-case review of mentally ill inmates in long-term segregation.
Attorney Michael Bien represents inmates in the lawsuit that led to the new plan.
“This process should result in a substantial reduction in the number of prisoners who are in these units," he says. "And, for some of them, it may just result in them getting out very quickly. Or it may result in the shortening of their stays in these units.”
Bien says there are 30,000 inmates classified as needing a lower level of mental health care. Of those, about 25 hundred are in some form of segregated housing.
In a statememt, CDCR Spokeswoman Dana Simas says, "CDCR continues to make lasting cultural changes to how the Department responds to and treats mentally ill inmates. We worked closely with inmates’ attorneys and with the court-appointed Special Master on this newest set of policies. We will continue to work with all parties to improve mental health care for inmates and to ensure that there is strong collaboration between custody and mental health staff."
Earlier this month CDCR agreed to modify some use-of -force policies regarding mentally ill inmates.