Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Solitary Confinement Called Treatment At DHBs

They just call it treatment

A Coalition of Mental Health Consumer Groups say the current debate on solitary confinement in prisons should also focus on “outrageous” seclusion practices in a wide range of New Zealand district health boards.

“It is extraordinary that prison inmates are seeking compensation for time in “solitary confinement” while the same conditions exist in district health boards all over the country,” says Deb Christensen – a spokeswoman for the Coalition representing seven psychiatric “survivor” groups.

It is also somewhat galling that what is called “solitary confinement” in prisons is called “treatment” in mental hospitals,” she says.

“The seclusion we experience is not treatment – it is treatment failure,” she says.

Ms Christensen said issues about compensation for prisoners in solitary confinement should be separated from the human rights issues associated with the barbaric practice itself. “We should not condone human rights abuses for anyone in our country,” she says.

“However it is important to understand that people in mental institutions are still being subjected to traumatizing seclusion practices that are little different from those metered out to the inmates of our jails.”

“Within the past month we’ve heard of a man put in seclusion for five consecutive days. This is an appalling abuse of a person at his most vulnerable. Acute services are supposed to treat people as human beings. Instead they abandon us and leave us in our terror and distress when we are vulnerable, unwell and scared,” she says.

“It is appalling that prisoners who are put in isolation can be compensated, while people who are unlucky enough to be mentally unwell are often treated as criminals by those who are supposed to be caring for them. Seclusion is a humiliating and destructive and New Zealand hospitals should abandon this abusive practice immediately,” she says.

A survey of all District Health Boards conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2000/1 showed that “seclusion was used widely and often”.

Although both service users and clinical staff perceived it as a negative intervention, its use was influenced by “systemic, resourcing, architectural, management and practice constraints.”

The survey found that seclusion varied over time and between DHBs but that all DHBs used it. About 37 per cent of service users said they had experienced time in seclusion. On average people spent up to 50 hours per month in seclusion with monthly hours ranging from 1-600. Most periods in seclusion were between 8-24 hours in duration.

Ms Christensen said research did not support seclusion as a treatment or therapy – it was frequently psychologically damaging to people, engendering feelings of helplessness, punishment and depression as well as feelings of anger, frustration, confusion and fear.

“Seclusion isolates people who are already disconnected from themselves. Real treatment should encourage and support people to connect with themselves and the physical world – not lock them away from it,” she says.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news