Numerous studies have documented the harmful psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement, which can produce debilitating symptoms, such as: Visual and auditory hallucinations, Hypersensitivity to noise and touch, Insomnia and paranoia, Uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear, Distortions of time and perception, Increased risk of suicide, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When he came home on September 2, 2015, after doing 4 years in prison, he slept on the floor, and he definitely showed symptoms of PTSD because he was waking up from his sleep screaming and calling out "Mom!" And I would say I'm here "K", and he would calm down and go back to sleep, I wondered what he did when I wasn't around. Maybe that's why he wasn't sleeping... He needs treatment and therapy at this time, not solitary confinement.
My son was arrested on September 2, 2011, due to his mental health issues. He reluctantly agreed to a plea bargain due to the advice of an attorney I hired. The COURT ORDERED plea bargain included him finishing his remaining time at Waymart, a Forensic Treatment Center (FTC). SCI Waymart serves as the focal point for the treatment of all psychiatric inmates within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, who require intensive psychiatric care and treatment and medical problems, he has a temporary colostomy. He never made it there.
UPDATE - as of May 15, 2017: (I add information as it happens)
Waiting List for Norristown State Hospital:
August 29, 2016: Number 125 on the waiting list
December 2, 2016: Number 95 on the waiting list
January 18, 2017: Number 88 on the waiting list
February 18, 2017: Number 77 on the waiting list
March 18, 2017: Number 77 on the waiting list
April 18, 2017: Number 77 on the waiting list
May 18, 2017: Number 77 on the waiting list
June 18, 2017: Number 45 on the waiting list
July 18, 2017: Number 45 on the waiting list
August 18, 2017: Number 9 on the waiting list
August 31, 2017: Transferred to Torrence State Hospital (Forensic)
June 30, 2018: Transferred to Wernersville State Hospital (Civil)
MAY 27, 2016, Arrested: Violated Probation while receiving mental health treatment in the Fairmount Behavioral Health System. While he was receiving treatment there he became aggressive, not violent, and they gave him Haldol to calm him down. It's recorded in his medical records that he cannot take Haldol because it causes him to have adverse effects such as defensive impulsive assaultive behavior. Because of that, he allegedly hit 2 staff people. Instead of them transferring him to another unit within Fairmount, or send him somewhere to receive proper treatment in a facility that could handle his behavior to stabilize him, the hospital called the state probation office, and the state probation office ordered to have my son arrested instead of having him put in a facility to receive help. Bucks County Sheriff Dept came to the facility and arrested him, took him to Bucks County Jail, put him in the Mental Health Unit, AKA SOLITARY CONFINEMENT to wait for a bed at Norristown State Hospital.
JULY ?, 2016, Court: Gagnon I hearing (preliminary hearing).
AUGUST 29, 2016, Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). It was continued because they say he is not competent to stand in front of the Judge. The Judge ordered him to be sent to Norristown State Hospital for treatment. They are waiting for a bed. (He started out number 125 on the waiting list). The stress on me at this time is unbearable. I can't imagine what my son is going through right now.
NOVEMBER 21, 2016, Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). It was continued until January 20, 2017. He is still not competent.
DECEMBER 13, 2016, Bucks County Jail: I have been the only one visiting my son since he was arrested on May 27, 2016. Today my daughter and my oldest son visited him with me and he was happy! The CTT staff visited him the next day and said he was much more embracing, and he talked and was apologetic when he slipped and said "F" you" while having a conversation. This is what happens to a person when they are put in solitary confinement; Numerous studies have documented the harmful psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement, which can produce debilitating symptoms, such as: Visual and auditory hallucinations, Hypersensitivity to noise and touch, Insomnia and paranoia, Uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear, Distortions of time and perception, Increased risk of suicide, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When he came home after doing 4 years in prison, he slept on the floor, and he definitely showed symptoms of PTSD because he was waking up from his sleep screaming and calling out "Mom!" And I would say I'm here "K", and he would calm down and go back to sleep, I wondered what he did when I wasn't around. Maybe that's why he wasn't sleeping... He needs treatment and therapy at this time, not solitary confinement.
Although both visits were positive, when I called on December 19th to schedule to see him like I normally do, I was told that I cannot see him until January 18th because he had a misconduct. I asked, what did he do? The lady on the other end said she didn't know. So, I called the Mental Health Unit, and the Doctor told me that he was on suicide watch...but when that was lifted, he had a misconduct. What happened!? What changed his behavior from positive to negative? And why punish him if he's declared incompetent?
Now he's in LOCK DOWN (30 days in the hole) Solitary Confinement, he can't get visits from his family, he can't receive commissary,
and they have never allowed him to make a phone call even before the misconduct. He can't get visits from his CTT (Community Treatment Team), this is the treatment team that visits him every
two weeks to make sure he is okay. Huh!? Why can't they come to see him? they are there to help him. That's not a privilege, that's a necessity! My son has been sitting in a
cell without proper mental health / medical treatment and they want him to act normal? And when he doesn't, they punish him! The policies MUST change in regards to the mentally ill in the County Jails!
JANUARY 18th, 2017, Bucks County Jail: My son has been in LOCK DOWN Solitary Confinement for 30 days. He's supposed to be let out of LOCK DOWN Solitary Confinement and put back into Regular Solitary Confinement so I called to schedule an appointment to visit with him and I was told I still can't see him until May 3rd, 2017. I asked why, and no one can tell me anything other than he has misconducts. However, today the jail allowed CTT to come visit with him. When they got there, they told CTT that my son urinated on himself and on the floor, and refused to see them. SOMETHING IS WRONG!!
I did some research and found out that "CFG Health Systems, LLC" provide services to Bucks County Correctional Facility. Their mission states that "they provide quality health services in correctional facilities which are consistent with community standards of care and best practices to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of the inmate which are delivered in a fiscally responsible manner." I can assure you that at this time their services are not consistent with ensuring the physical and psychological well-being of the mentally ill inmates at BCCF.
JANUARY 20, 2017, Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). It was continued until March 20, 2017. He's in LOCKDOWN Solitary Confinement due to misconduct, yet he is still incompetent to stand before the Judge. His next court date is scheduled for March 20, 2017.
FEBRUARY 01. 2017, Commissioners Meeting: I attended this meeting to bring attention to my son's plight in the Bucks County Jail, and the plight of every serious mentally ill inmate. (One thing is for sure the jails are not equipped to handle serious mentally ill inmates, so the policies must change to accommodate them).
I was so nervous at the time, I didn't share that my son has an adverse reaction to Haldol, and that's what causes his behavior to change from aggressive to impulsive assaultive behavior. He's not violent, he's a gentle giant. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) so he can be aggressive with his conversation, but not violent. In his right mind, he will defend himself. But he never acted out in a violent way growing up, he has never put his hands on me. I just want to see my son treated with dignity and respect. If the staff at the jail change their behavior towards him, he will change his behavior towards them. The commissioners listened to me, but as of today there are no changes concerning the treatment of my son. I was told that the commissioners have no jurisdiction over the Bucks County Jail! Who does?
March 20, 2017: Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). Now he's in Restricted Housing (LOCKDOWN Solitary Confinement), and he's still incompetent to stand before the Judge. The hearing was continued until April 18th.
April 18, 2017: Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). He's still in Restricted Housing (LOCKDOWN Solitary Confinement), but the jail brought him to the courthouse after I was told by the Mental Health Unit that he wouldn't be there. (His father was there and told me my son looks terrible, he was shaking, lost weight, and he looks like a vagabond). He's still declared incompetent. The hearing was continued until May 24th.
May 03, 2017, End of Lockdown Solitary Confinement? I called because it was May 3rd, to see when I could come visit my son. I was told that he had another misconduct and I couldn't see him until October 27th, 2017, in 5 months! What!?
May 24, 2017: Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). He's still in Restricted Housing (LOCKDOWN Solitary Confinement). His court hearing was postponed.
June 12, 2017: Court: Gagnon II hearing (final ruling). He's still in Restricted Housing (LOCKDOWN Solitary Confinement, however I am able to visit him now per the Warden). I attended this hearing, along with his father and the attorney, ( Attorney Eugene Tinari). The probation officer showed up with a staff person from Fairmount Hospital where my son was supposedly receiving treatment, and where he was arrested. Judge Rea Boylan would not move forward with the case because the report declaring my son competent or incompetent was missing. The hearing was continued until June 29th. My son is still shaking from the side effects of the medicine they are giving him.
June 29, 2017: Court: Continued until August ? The shaking has stopped because they changed his medicine.
August __, 2017: Court: Continued until September 5, 2017
August 31, 2017: FORENSIC - He was transferred to Torrence State Hospital for Treatment...The Forensic Social Worker called me to let me know he was there on Friday, September 1, 2017. I really believe that they will do their best to help him stabilize and become normal again. They reached out to me, and I am feeling relief, Torrence State Hospital was a blessing to my son and me. They were able to stabilize him, and he was able to call me daily. However, it was too much for me to visit him because it was a 5 hour drive to visit him....I visited him once.
June 30, 2018: CIVIL - He was transferred to
Wernersville State Hospital for Treatment...This is a Civil State Hospital, the team leader (Psychiatrist) and social worker called me. They let me know that every person admitted to
Wernersville State Hospital is served by a treatment team. The treatment team includes; a psychiatrist, social worker, registerd nurse, therapeutic activities representative and psychologist
who are responsible for coordinating each his treatment services. The psychiatrist is the Treatment Team Leader. Additional members include a physician and sometimes a dietician,
psychiatric aide, county-based case manager and spiritual advisor. I was told that he is considerd a part of the treatment team and he can involve his family member(s). I AM
He is doing so much better at this place. He can only make 1 call per day, but I can call him from 9am - 10pm everyday. He has Group Sessions everyday, so, I call him when he's out of Group. He was able to come home on a day pass on Saturday, August 25, 2018. I picked him up at 9am, and returned him at 9pm. He visited with family and friends, and we all had a great time. I try to visit with him at least once or twice a week. He is closer to me, 1 hr and 15 mins.
Reported by Samantha Melamed:
"Deal aims to end solitary confinement for seriously mentally ill prisoners in Pa."
PLEASE NOTE: Before my son was arrested on September 2, 2011, he voluntarily commited himself on August 22, 2011 to Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment, and on August 24th, they called me to tell me they were going to send him to jail if I didn't come get him. I rushed to pick him up on Aug 24th...and later found out they gave him Haldol. After taking Haldol he began to demonstrate defensive, impulsive, assaultive behavior. I brought him to several different places that would not admit him because he has a medical condition (a colostomy), so finally on Aug 27th he voluntarily commited himself to Jefferson hospital, and they did the same thing Belmont did, kept him for 2 days and released him to me on Aug 29th. Four dayslater, on September 2, 2011 he was arrested...now he's a criminal! ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED!
Nobody should be punished for behavior that arose out of a common treatable mental health condition. It is not a crime to have a mental illness so why are the mentally ill criminalized?
Haldol is the brand name for Haloperidol, it is an antipsychotic medicine. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain. haldol is good for treating
agitation, aggressive outbursts and mania, but can also have some adverse effects, such as defensive impulsive assaultive behavior.
I need to find out why my son at times becomes defensive towards the people who are treating him. He needs therapy to get to the root of it. He was never violent as a child, nor as a teenager. He was always kind and gentle towards the elderly, children and animals. Something happened to traumatize him. I am trusting God to allow those that are treating him at Torrence State Hospital to find out why, and then treat him until he becomes normal again.
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