A federal court official says treatment of California’s most severely mentally ill prisoners is haphazard and often inadequate, delivered by a fractured, understaffed system in which doctors discharge patients because they are afraid not to, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report, filed in U.S. District Court on Friday by special master Matthew Lopes, describes an eight-month investigation of conditions at two state psychiatric hospitals and the psychiatric hospitals run within four state prisons.
Only one program, at the California Institution for Women, was considered to be meeting patients’ needs. Lopes described care elsewhere that was “more rote than truly responsive.” He said some patients were returned to prison too soon, drugged instead of counseled and only rarely given one-on-one therapy. What was counted as “group therapy” at one prison included participation in a magazine lending program. The special master’s report was ordered last year by a judge who rejected California’s bid to end federal oversight of prison psychiatric care and ruled that inmate care still