I have decided to write this letter after much deliberation.
I am a retired correctional officer, I started working in 1981 for a county larger than SLO. Jails have long been a dumping ground for mentally ill people. If mentally ill people commit a crime they are brought to jail; mental health generally does not want to deal with someone in custody. This falls under the heading of “not my problem.”
When I first started working, inmates were hogtied. The alternative is to allow them to run into walls head first, splitting their heads open — something I have witnessed. Some spread fecal matter on their bodies.
When the restraint chair was created it seemed like a viable alternative, safe for the inmate and for the officers. I have been present when an inmate has been placed in a restraint chair. Attempts made to remove inmates from the chair resulted in officers having to fight with inmates, only to restrain them again. It is easy to criticize. Other than not place Mr. Holland in the restraint chair, what would you have the officers do?
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Inmates who are a danger to themselves as well as others need to be given their medication, as expeditiously as possible, before they injure themselves or others. Sadly it took a tragedy to effect what was being requested for years, the hiring of a chief medical officer who will have the authority to sedate violent inmates.
Michelle Cobbs, Morro Bay