Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baker's Bridgewater

It was bound to happen:

Bridgewater State Hospital overhaul remains unfunded

It breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Especially after I was told things were getting better at the state torture center, and now I find out it is as bad as ever after they pledged to do better.

"Man’s death at Bridgewater State Hospital probed" by Jan Ransom and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  April 11, 2016

Authorities are investigating the death of a 43-year-old Lawrence man in his cell at Bridgewater State Hospital Friday night, the state Department of Correction said.

Correction officials found Leo Marino unresponsive at 7:35 p.m. and “immediately initiated full emergency response beginning with CPR,’’ spokesman Darren Duarte said in a statement on Monday.

Marino was taken by Bridgewater firefighters to Morton Hospital in Taunton, where he was pronounced dead at 8:33 p.m., Duarte said. He said the state medical examiner’s office will determine a cause of death.

No further information was released about Marino’s death, which is not considered suspicious.

Happens on occasion, no big deal.

State Police assigned to the Plymouth district attorney’s office are investigating, according to DA spokeswoman Beth Stone, who declined further comment. 

I'm filled with loads of confidence.

The Lawrence man was admitted to Bridgewater State Hospital on Oct. 13 from the Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton for observation, according to the Correction Department.
Special report: Bridgewater State Hospital

He was facing charges out of Newburyport District Court for allegedly operating under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged in Lawrence District Court with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and strangulation and suffocation.

Marino was civilly committed on Jan. 28 to the facility after he was found incompetent to stand trial in Essex Superior Court on the charges out of Lawrence.

Roderick MacLeish Jr., the attorney who filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Bridgewater inmates in 2014, said Marino had “significant mental illness” but did not elaborate.

Bridgewater State Hospital is a medium-security facility whose population is made up of men civilly committed because of a mental health issue, prison inmates sent to the hospital because of mental health issues, and pretrial detainees who are undergoing a mental health evaluation.

According to MacLeish, Marino spent more than 250 hours in seclusion last month.

That would drive you crazy.

The Department of Correction was unable to confirm that, but MacLeish said the length of time he spent in seclusion “raises troubling concerns.”

“Given the level of monitoring there is supposed to be, it’s difficult to see how this happened,” he said. “Was he being watched?”

Officials at Correction Department did not say whether Marino was supervised in the moments leading up to his death.

“The Department of Correction is undergoing a root cause analysis of this case as we do in any unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury at Bridgewater State Hospital,” Duarte said. “We hope to have all questions answered as soon as possible.”

MacLeish said Marino was in the Intensive Treatment Unit, which consists of 12 rooms behind locked steel doors where patients have limited privileges.

The area is monitored with surveillance cameras and staff check patients every 15 minutes.

Marino’s death follows that of at least three others at the embattled facility in which the patients died after the alleged improper use of physical restraints.

The family of one patient, Joshua K. Messier, who died in 2009, received a $3 million settlement from the state and a private mental health company.

A settlement reached in 2014 following the class action lawsuit called for a drastic reduction in the use of physical restraints and solitary confinement at Bridgewater, restricting such measures for emergencies only.

Leslie Walker, a lawyer and executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services Massachusetts, said Bridgewater has long been understaffed and does not have enough mental health clinicians.

But the state does have hundreds of millions for profitable GE and other corporations.


So what was this guy's story?

"Bridgewater inmate allegedly attempted suicide 3 times before death" by Jan Ransom Globe Staff  April 14, 2016

In the weeks leading up to his death, Leo Marino, an inmate at Bridgewater State Hospital, tried to kill himself three times, according to his brother and attorney.

Marino had slit his wrists, swallowed wet toilet paper, and tried to hang himself with a sheet, Joe Marino and attorney Alfred Farese Jr. told the Globe. He had been on suicide watch when prison officials found him unresponsive in his cell at 7:35 p.m. on April 8, according to Joe Marino and Farese. He died an hour later at Morton Hospital in Taunton, officials said.

Joe Marino wants to know why his suicidal, mentally ill 43-year-old brother wasn’t monitored more closely; meanwhile, Marino’s death has led mental health advocates to renew calls to reform Bridgewater State Hospital and ask what happened to plans to revamp the troubled facility.

Marino, a father of two teenage boys, suffered from mental illness, his brother said. Court records show he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggled with substance abuse that included cocaine and prescription drugs. He also had a history of suicide attempts, according to court documents.

In 2011, Marino told a doctor that he had religious visions and that God spoke to him.

In the fall of 2015, while being held in Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton on charges that he assaulted his fiancee, Marino tried to kill himself several times, his brother said. He was admitted to Bridgewater State Hospital on Oct. 13 for observation, according to correction officials.

Marino was then civilly committed to Bridgewater, a medium security prison that houses mentally ill inmates, on Jan. 28, after he was found incompetent to stand trial on the assault charges. He was also facing charges in Newburyport District Court of driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance.

By the time he was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital in the fall, his mental health had badly deteriorated, according to his brother. Jail officials in Middleton had refused to allow Marino to take Klonopin, a drug he had been prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety. Officials at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the jail, could not be reached Thursday.

In March, Marino spent more than 250 hours in seclusion at Bridgewater, according to Roderick MacLeish Jr., an attorney who filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Bridgewater inmates in 2014.

Officials at Bridgewater had allowed Marino to again take Klonopin, but his mental state continued to deteriorate, Joe Marino said. According to Farese, Marino’s lawyer, his client was preparing to receive electroconvulsive therapy and was not taking Klonopin at the time of his death. 

I was told shock therapy is supposed to be good for you.

Hours before Marino’s death, he sat across from his brother and his attorney. Joe Marino told his brother that his family loved him and they needed him to be strong.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Joe Marino said his brother told him. “The pain is too great.”

Before he left, Joe Marino said, he begged prison officials to keep an eye on his brother.

Marino’s death has reignited discussions about mental health treatment for inmates at Bridgewater. Mental health advocates, who pushed for sweeping changes following the deaths of three men at the facility between 2009 and 2013, say legislators punted on proposed reforms two years ago and have done nothing since.


Governor Deval Patrick’s $12.3 million plan called for increased staffing, including 130 full-time mental health clinicians and a new facility where potentially violent inmates be treated in a secure setting.

Yeah, I remember. Big announcement!

Correction officials had sought $10 million to boost staffing and enhance training, but lawmakers approved only $1.8 million in new funding and said they needed to study the issue further, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

“In the end nothing was done,” said Christine M. Griffin, executive director of the Disability Law Center Inc. “There’s been a lot of silence.”

Let me break that by saying it looks criminal to me.

Mental health advocates said they plan to take their fight to improve Bridgewater to Governor Charlie Baker’s office.

“The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes the challenges at Bridgewater State Hospital and is working on a strategy to ensure that the quality of care and level of safety patients receive there matches what they would receive at any mental health facility,” said Felix Browne, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

MacLeish said he met with Baker’s chief legal counsel in May to discuss Bridgewater. That same month, he sent a letter to Attorney General Maura Healey stating that “the rights of the severely mentally ill continue to be abused,” he said.

“The state locks up someone without meds, without the proper therapy and counseling, and puts them in solitude and doesn’t realize that’s going to kill them,” said Joe Marino, who was planning his brother’s funeral. “The system failed him. He should have got the help he needed so he could live.”

Thankfully, the $y$tem doesn't fail others.


What a mess, huh?

Any charges (never mind convictions) will be difficult to obtain, and all you are left with is a tombstone.

NDU: "Sandra Bland was found dead hanging from a garbage bag in her jail cell."

Jost thought I would toss that in here.

Also see: It’s time to fix Bridgewater State Hospital 

Past time.