Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Report: Correctional Facilities Lack Adequate Mental Health Services
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
New York, NY –
A report on New York's juvenile justice system finds state run correctional facilities are seriously lacking mental health services, even though about 50 percent of the kids in custody have diagnosed mental illnesses. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports:
The report by the Center for New York City Affairs says state run facilities don't have a single psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse on staff who can prescribe medication or monitor children on psychotropic drugs. Instead facilities rely on clinicians from nearby hospitals who make weekly short visits. As a result, the report says untrained and overworked employees often resort to violent or aggressive tactics. John Ruiz, board member of the Public Employees Federation, the union that represents workers, says the system is in chaos and more professional staff are needed. Recently, the Department of Justice investigated these upstate facilities and found widespread abuse. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services says it's currently negotiating a settlement with them and can't comment on the report. For WNYC, I'm Cindy Rodriguez.
You can read the full report here.