Prison is not the place for the mentally ill.

In prison abuse, Uncategorized on August 3, 2008 at 11:54 am

Prison is not the place for the mentally ill, said Justice Rita Joseph Olivetti of the British Virgin islands as she sentenced Christian Callwood to a two-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to a wounding charge in the High Court recently.

Justice Olivetti, who with her staff recently visited Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut, said, “At that visit, it was brought home to my mind how necessary, how pressing it is, for there to be facilities for someone who has suffered from mental illnesses.”

Mr. Callwood — who was charged with maliciously wounding a vacationing American tourist — has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He recently returned from Barbados, where he had been receiving
treatment at a long-term care facility.

The 25-year-old Callwood had a history of marijuana abuse, according to his mother, Tessa Callwood, who testified that drugs laced with other substances may have led to her son’s mental illness.

Worldwide, prisons have become the home for hundreds of persons with mental illnesses. Unfortunately, most such prisons are ill-equipped to accommodate and or rehabilitate persons suffering from mental illnesses who fail to integrate well with the inmate population.

For this and other reasons, mentally ill inmates often become the victims of various forms of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of both staff and other inmates.


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