Make America Kind: The abuse of the mentally ill in America’s prisons


Washington Post

..A new report by Human Rights Watch — “Callous and Cruel: Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in U.S. Jails and Prisons” — documents the routine brutality exercised by guards who are untrained and ill-equipped to deal with mentally ill people, who make up enormous proportions of jail and prison populations.

Jail and prison staff use “force in the absence of any emergency, and without first making serious attempts to secure the inmate’s compliance through other means,” according to the report, which details cases similar to Ms. McKenna’s, which unfolded when she resisted the guards’ attempts to remove her from her cell.

The report goes on: “Force is also used when there is an immediate security need to control the inmate, but the amount of force used is excessive to the need, or continues after the inmate has been brought under control.”

In Ms. McKenna’s case, she had already been fully restrained — her hands and feet shackled — when a guard, frustrated that she would not bend her knees to be strapped into a chair, shot her repeatedly with his Taser…..

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