The reality of life in a facility for mentally ill inmates has been revealed.
According to corrections workers at Hawaii Community Correctional Center they have to deal with inmates screaming, throwing faeces, and refusing to wear clothes on a daily basis, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports.
Warden Peter Cabreros recently told the County Council:
They live in conditions that have been described as ‘unimaginable,’ very crowded. These inmates struggle to maintain their personal hygiene on a daily basis.
Cabreros said the unit that houses mentally ill inmates was originally designed for 44, but is now home to 100, of which 60 have serious mental illnesses.
He went on to say: “It’s a struggle for security staff and health care staff to manage these inmates. This seems like corrections has become a warehouse to treat these individuals. We need help because we’re not properly equipped.”
Jedidiah Kaye is a psychiatric social worker at the centre. He’s observed the problems in the institution firsthand, and told the Tribune-Herald:
The criminalization of the mentally ill and dually diagnosed is real and it’s happening in this county and all across the United States. We can do better.
The county is now looking into alternative ways to deal with mentally ill criminals.