STATE STILL NEGOTIATING WITH DOJ OVER HANDLING OF ‘MENTAL HEALTH WATCHES’ IN PRISONS
Jan 22, 2021
By Deborah Becker
Negotiations continue between Massachusetts correction officials and the Justice Department over last year’s scathing federal report on mental health treatment in the state’s prisons.
Andrew Peck, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice, said state corrections officials are working well with the DOJ, and a settlement over the report is in progress.
Last November, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling released the report after a two-year investigation that found the state Department of Correction violated prisoners’ constitutional rights by not providing adequate mental health care.
Lelling’s report focused on detainees placed on so-called “mental health watch,” a status that typically results in a prisoner being isolated in a cell with few belongings or clothes. The prisoner is then closely monitored by medical staff and correction officers