Doctor Hired to Reduce CA Prison Suicides Quits in Frustration


The expert hired by a federal court to help California lower its prison suicide rate said in a report Wednesday he's so frustrated he's going to stop trying, reports Southern California Public Radio. In papers filed in federal court, Dr. Raymond Patterson condemned state prison officials for failing to reduce the inmate suicide rate, which he said is getting worse. Patterson has analyzed inmate suicides in state prisons for more than a decade and made recommendations every year on how prison officials could reduce the suicide rate.

In his report on 2012 suicides, Patterson wrote that his recommendations go “unheeded, year after year,” while suicides “continue unabated.” Patterson concluded that state prison officials just don't care about the issue, and that making any more recommendations would be “a further waste of time and effort.” “This is a perfect example of deliberate indifference,” said Jane Kahn, an attorney for inmates who sued the state to provide them with adequate mental health care. The federal judge in the case ordered life-saving improvements years ago, she said. In a written statement, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said California “has one of the most robust prison suicide prevention programs in the nation.”

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