“Systemic Failures Persist” in California Prison Mental Health Care, Judge Rules

California Governor Jerry Brown’s bid to end federal control over the state prison system’s mental health system was denied in federal court on Friday, April 5, in a sharply worded ruling by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton. In the 68-page ruling, Judge Karlton determined that “systemic failures persist in the form of inadequate suicide […]

California Prison Conditions Driving Prisoners to Suicide

A court-appointed consultant, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Patterson, has reported that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has failed to effectively combat the large and escalating problem of suicides in the California prison system. According to reporting by KPCC, Patterson despondently asserted that his making any additional recommendations would be “a further waste of time […]

Suicide in Solitary: The Life and Death of Armando Cruz (Part 2)

On December 26, 2008, Armando Cruz was admitted to Mercy Hospital of Folsom following an attempted self-castration. He had “wrapped strips of sheets/shirts around base of scrotum and has been tightening them over the past three days because ‘I am on a mission,’” according to a Clinical Report by a physician who examined him. Cruz […]

Suicide in Solitary: The Life and Death of Armando Cruz (Part 1)

On September 20, 2011, at 10:55 pm in the Psychiatric Services Unit of California State Prison, Sacramento, a guard was completing his rounds checking on patients in the unit. Locked in solitary confinement, but allowed 10 hours of recreation a week as well as some group activities, prisoners held in these units have been diagnosed […]