Officials Working To Curb Increasing Violence at State Mental Hospitals
Officials from California's mental health hospitals and criminal justice system are working to address increasing violence in state psychiatric facilities, NPR's "Morning Edition" reports.
In 2006, the state and the U.S. Department of Justice implemented a plan designed to reduce cases of patientÂ abuse and neglect. AlthoughÂ the plan improved treatment, violence increased.
DOJ has rolled out similar plans in other states, but none of those hospitals treat a population made up predominantly of patients who have committed or were accused of major crimes, as is the case in California, according to "Morning Edition."
About 90% of patients in California's mental hospitals have been committed there through the criminal justice system.
Violence Often Not Treated as Crimes
Despite the increase in violence at state mental hospitals, many violent incidents are not treated as crimes, "Morning Edition" reports.
According to the state Department of Mental Health, there were approximately 1,500 assaults at Patton State Hospital last year, and only 91 of those were submitted for possible prosecution to the San Bernardino County District Attorney. The district attorney rejected 81 of those cases.
By comparison, there were 340 reports of assault at the hospital in 2007, and 35 were sent to the district attorney, who rejected 17.
Addressing the Violence
DOJ wants to continue its oversight of two state mental hospitals in part because it says the hospitals have not found a way to curb violence.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers have held hearings on the issue of violence in mental hospitals (Jaffe, "Morning Edition," NPR, 12/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.