Editors Note: This article was brought to my attention by a reader – your suggestions are welcome. It is remarkable how similar the prison situation sounds to our refugee detention facilities and the alleged treatment and attitude they face. This is definitely not the way to treat mental health issues or mental illness.

This article also raises the issue of what workers who see poor treatment of inmates should do when they are often faced with criminal sanctions for attempting to blow the whistle on inhumane conditions – again exactly the same problem faced by medical staff at Australia’s refugee detention facilities. Please read the whole article for a chilling analysis.

Shortly after Harriet Krzykowski began working at the Dade Correctional Institution, in Florida, an inmate whispered to her, “You know they starve us, right?”

It was the fall of 2010, and Krzykowski, a psychiatric technician, had been hired by Dade, which is forty miles south of Miami, to help prisoners with clinical behavioral problems follow their treatment plans. The inmate was housed in Dade’s mental-health ward, the Transitional Care Unit, a cluster of buildings connected by breezeways and equipped with one-way mirrors and surveillance cameras.

“I thought, Oh, this guy must be paranoid or schizophrenic,” she said recently. Moreover, she’d been warned during her training that prisoners routinely made false accusations against guards. Then she heard an inmate in another wing of the T.C.U. complain that meal trays often arrived at his cell without food. After noticing that several prisoners were alarmingly thin, she decided to discuss the matter with Dr. Cristina Perez, who oversaw the inpatient unit.

Krzykowski, an unassuming woman with pale skin and blue eyes, was thirty at the time. The field of correctional psychology can attract idealists who tend to see all prisoners as society’s victims and who distrust anyone wearing a security badge—corrections officers call such people “hug-a-thugs.”


To read the rest of this article please visit the original post as this is only an excerpt as the original article is currently not available for full republication.

This article excerpt was sourced from the website The New Yorker and the original article can be found at Madness: In Florida prisons, mentally ill inmates have been tortured, driven to suicide and killed by guards. 


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