Monday, April 27, 2020

Furlough useless state mental health employees!

I got a call today from a “patient” at Elgin plantation who was complaining that nobody’s getting treatment.

Of course, I had to stop and think... mostly I deal with people who want to escape from “treatment” which is harmful, degrading, etc. Here was somebody calling me because he wasn’t getting treatment? Hmmm.

As it develops, all therapy groups, individual counseling, and activities are cancelled at Elgin for the COVID19 emergency. These are almost the only things the plantation’s slave population can do on any given day. Those people are now bored. This is what they’re there for: their only jobs really, consist in receiving mental health “treatment”. The plantation also derives some public relations value from providing more than just drugs and electroshock, because those forms of “treatment” have negative implications in the public mind.

Being able to claim or refer to a complicated variety of different “services” provided by a complicated variety of different “mental health professionals” has become vital to the project of disguising the nature of the plantation. Without that disguise, taxpayers might easily realize that the forensic mental health system is nothing but a much more expensive prison system, and they might not want to pay for it anymore.

I have on many occasions seen judges and state’s attorneys obsess over details of a complicated variety of “treatment” prescribed for an NGRI petitioner. This appeared to have a purpose to tease out better prediction of whether the person might be a prospect for conditional release into the community, instead of being kept forever on a locked clinical unit (at huge public expense). I always tended to discount the importance of what seemed to me like trivia in treatment plans and court reports, such as whether a “patient” believed in Moral Reconation Therapy, or whether she had done an anger management group one time or three times, or whether he had joined a substance abuse group conducted in Spanish only to learn the language.

I always thought judges must suspect on some level that all these “treatment” modalities were fluff. The only substantial issue had to be the person’s behavior. If somebody gets in fights all the time and scares the hell out of others, that person probably needs to be restrained. But if they get along OK for a year or two on a psychiatric plantation, maybe they can be manumitted.

The issue of psychiatric drugs was a big part of this. If somebody’s behavior is social enough without drugs, then it seems counterproductive to prescribe them. If somebody’s behavior is only OK because they take the drugs, then you’d better pay a lot of attention to what might happen when that person is no longer locked up. That seemed like common sense to me.

Well, lo and behold, everybody else was thinking much more about all these other “treatments”. Until they weren’t.

COVID19 is now the system’s excuse to discontinue all therapy groups, all individual counseling, and all activity therapies. Those “treatments” are not important enough to continue. They are fluff. At least, that's what I’m told is the protocol for the Elgin plantation. I doubt there’s any difference at Chicago Read, Chester, Madden, Alton, Choate, or any other IDHS facility.

Needless to say, if these things were important, it would be easily possible to conduct smaller therapy groups, for example, with only three or four people in a large enough room to social distance. Individual counseling sessions could be done by video. Physical exercise, library use, consumer council and gardening would only need to employ a few new rules. There are plenty of “mental health professionals” of various and sundry types, all on the state payroll, to figure this out and supervise it.

But no, what they do instead is just stop most “treatment”. Can’t do it now, COVID19, shut down anything non-essential.

Fine, it’s fluff. So are at least a third of all those employees. Furlough them, save the state money!

1 comment:

  1. This isn't a problem for the madhouse gulag. Any activity, or even lack of activity, can be called "therapy" It is simple. Just name an activity and append the word therapy to it. Watching TV-therapy. Getting some fresh air outside the building-therapy. (Also lucratively called "activity therapy"). Masturbation-therapy. (This one is not at all facetious and is real.) Visiting a religion purveyor-therapy. Anything befalling a prisoner in a madhouse is, will be, or once upon a time was, "therapy". The heating system breaks and you have refrigeration-therapy. At Chester they had black eye-therapy that even and especially the "security therapy aides" could perform. That Elgin complainer is actually receiving myriad types of therapy.