Hey guys, if you missed my last blog post you can check it out here. Today I want to focus on how North Carolina prisons are dealing with mental illness and mentally ill inmates. Over these past couple of weeks through researching the different aspects of conditions within North Carolina prisons, I have come across several cases of neglect against mentally ill inmates. One that has recently been circulating in the news and on social media is the case of Michael Anthony Kerr, which I discussed in a previous post.
Roughly 4,600, or 12 percent, of North Carolina’s total prison population require mental health care. And unfortunately, not all the inmates requiring this medical attention receive it. North Carolina corrections chief David Guice has requested that $20 million go to the improvement of the treatment of inmates with mental illness in state prison’s. This funding is hoped to cover the expenses of 300 additional mental health care staff for the state, an additional 64 for Central Prison’s mental health unit, and 76 probation officers. Corrections chief David Guice openly stated at a meeting of the state’s Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, that this won’t be cheap especially considering how underfunded the system is. He continues to state that budget cuts have “emptied one-third of the beds at Central Prison’s inpatient unit for severely mentally ill inmates.” Although Guice tells the public that the state has already taken action and implemented changes, reports of the treatment of the inmates with mental illness prove otherwise. These individuals are still being subject to negligence and cruelty through the over-practice of solitary confinement and the lack of health care.
How long can prison system’s wait to implement reforms that are clearly necessary? You would think that after the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, officials would be going to great lengths to correct their mistakes made.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the government should put more money toward state prisons? Let me know what you think and check back next week!