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Callous and Cruel: Use of Force Against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons (Report)

Across the United States, staff working in jails and prisons have used unnecessary, excessive, and even malicious force on prisoners with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Corrections officials at times needlessly and punitively deluge them with chemical sprays; shock them with electric stun devices; strap them to chairs and beds for days on end; break their jaws, noses, ribs; or leave them with lacerations, second degree burns, deep bruises, and damaged internal organs. The violence can traumatize already vulnerable men and women, aggravating their symptoms and making future mental health treatment more difficult. In some cases, including several documented in this report, the use of force has caused or contributed to prisoners’ deaths.RELATED STORY: Woman Tasered to Death by Deputies While She was Cuffed, Shackled, and Masked

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Reprinted with permission from Human Rights Watch.

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