Senate Judiciary Committee takes up SB176 on March 14, 2011, a bill by Senator Morgan Carroll, seeking to discuss and re-examine current practices in Colorado prisons of solitary confinement of mentally ill and developmentally disabled inmates.
Though inmates have reading material and tv, they don't get social skill rehab or therapy or diagnostic imaging to discover if their real problem is a brain injury.
For many, there is no "stepdown" adjustment to the general prison population before they end their sentences and are put on the street, which results in high recidivism. Which seems obvious.
Oddly enough, mentally ill and developmentally disabled people have increased in Colorado's prisons in recent years, growing from 15 to 37 percent of the overall prison population. So because Colorado has continued to accrue these "rainy day funds" instead of funding programs to provide shelter for DD already qualified for services, are we simply warehousing these people inhumanely in prisons instead? Well?
This 132 minutes of footage is accessible in the archives for those wishing to hear more. About 5 guards and other prison employees provide testimony of their assaults by inmates who were both mentally ill and not.
Unfortunately, the videographer did not stay for the testimony in favor of the bill, but we hope to catch more as time goes on. Because of Colorado courts' tendency to discriminate against mentally disabled people, Paula Rhoads is certain innocent mentally ill people are in Colorado prisons. Especially people with brain injuries.