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View Diary: Nightmares of Reality: Pepper-Spraying Mentally Ill Prisoners. (53 comments)

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  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
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    Sorry I cannot blockquote on this computer but...

    "I recall when they started issuing these devises the police depts.  We were told at the time they were going to be used only as a last resort against rioters or people who were drugged out or otherwise unable to understand legitimate commands."

    ...or otherwise unable to understand legitimate commands....

    The inmates cited in the diary appear to have been unable to understand legitimate commands therefore the guards used a non lethal tactic to gain control.

    I do think this was more humane than gunfire as you state. I do not expect the facility to "wait out" an inmate having a mental break or non compliant for any other reason. I also do not want them to shoot a non compliant.

    They used a tool that allowed them to gain control so that the inmate was unable to harm himself or others.

    •  Spraying people's faces with pepper spray so (9+ / 0-)

      they cry out in agony, not even understanding what is happening, is not "a tool."  It is torture. It is evil.

      •  I understand your emotion (0+ / 0-)

        but may I ask how we should handle a non complaint inmate and how do we then extract them from the cell without non lethal "torture"?

        I do not intend any attitude or snipe with these remarks.

        Lastly, even a little pepper spray will inflict agony, the amount has little effect after a certain point.

        •  I'm not qualified to answer that question. (3+ / 0-)

          So I'll just spew random thoughts.  There are two issues: calming the person down, or getting the person under control.

          The first might suggest expert help, music, calming voices. Or some altogether different approach.

          The second might suggest nets, lassos, large people with protective pads pinning the person again a wall so the person could be bound (if absolutely necessary), people who are trained in immobilization techniques of which I am unaware but surely must exist.

          •  IMHO those are unworkable. (1+ / 0-)
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            Could you imagine the outrage the first time a non white inmate is lassoed? Or a net is thrown on them a la Planet of the Apes?

            Large people in "riot gear" looking protective uniforms do perform cell extractions when the threat of bodily harm is great or already exists. Those pressure points and immobilization techniques are commonly used but refered to as "torture" by some here and may very well not be effective on someone suffering a mental episode.

            I wish it were easy and I wish that our state better served the Mental Ill.

          •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
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            jpmassar, FarWestGirl

            Also, thank you for the dialog. I do not intend dis respect by not rec'ing your comments. It is that my computer here does not interface with DKOS very well. I cannot Tip and Rec or use most of the functions availvble while posting.

        •  And you know this from what exactly? (1+ / 0-)
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          Your personal experience of being a mentally ill patient sprayed with pepper spray until the floor of your cell was too slick to walk on?

          "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

          by Steven D on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:28:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
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            jpmassar, FarWestGirl

            I have personal experience of being sprayed with pepper spray during training and certification courses. The first few times was direct spray to the face. The last few were wipes across the eyes with a towel that had been sprayed and then a mist.

            Following the exposure I was then wrestled with by other Marines and made to complete obstacles/tasks while sprayed.

            I understand its effects and the agony it inflicts. Even after multiple exposures it still inflicts almost unbearable pain on me!

            •  I'm sorry (1+ / 0-)
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              Were you mentally ill and in prison when sprayed with pepper spray because you refused to take medication?  It doesn't sound as if you experienced the same conditions as I specified in my comment, you did this as part of your job training.  Nor does it appear that the pepper spray continued for so long that the floor of your prison cell (or whatever location where your training occurred) became too slick to stand upon.

              While I appreciate your willingness to expose yourself to this form of torture as part of your training in the armed forces, I don't think your experience is the equivalent of a mentally ill and confused individual being tortured with the level of pepper spray attacks that the diarist indicated occurred.  You were prepared and understood what would be done to you.  The mentally ill individual described above did not, nor did the use of pepper spray in that instance make that individual less confused about what his torturers wanted him to do.

              "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

              by Steven D on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:10:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No I was not and no mentally ill person (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FarWestGirl, jpmassar

                should be thrown in prison cell to begin with. If they are so afflicted by their condtion that locking them up would not be safe or properly rehabilitating then they should not be there to begin with.

                I did not mean for my comment above to be seen as an excuse but rather a description of the agony. I meant my response to only address the level of pain fealt as a direct result of the amount of spray used. After the burn begins the pain plateaus.

                The additional stressors belonging to the mentally ill I could never begin to understand fully.

        •  You talk to them, and you keep talking to them. (6+ / 0-)

          That is how real professionals deal with people who are in a crisis. Yes, there are a few times when more is needed, but those times are few and far between.

                          Just my two cents,

          Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

          by Chacounne on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:48:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Mental health professionals know how to do this. (8+ / 0-)

      The situation here is that we have people who are mentally ill, who are confined - not running around loose menacing society. Mental health care professionals manage such situations all the time without guns, pepper spray, tear gas, or whatever. (Go visit the locked ward in a well-run inpatient facility sometime.)

      Oh, the prison guards are not trained as mental health care professionals? Then what on God's green earth are we doing, handing over care of the mentally ill to people whose only tools are guns and pepper spray and tear gas? What next, having cancer patients treated by carpenters instead of doctors (hey, cutting stuff out is not that hard)? Overactive little kids tamed by rodeo bronc busters instead of early childhood teachers?

      If we in CA are to be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us, we surely must be condemned for letting such practices continue.

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