While all of us in Orange County government who are responsible for the care, health and safety of inmates incarcerated in the County Jail are optimistic about improving interagency relationships in that jail, I would like to correct one misconception that was published in an editorial in The Times (Jan. 7).
The issue of confidentiality is one that has received a good deal of attention in recent years. Professionals in mental health and drug abuse have served time in jail to defend the confidentiality of records. There are important reasons to protect this confidentiality.
Most notably, confidentiality is a crucial concern for many of the patients seeking help for their mental disorders, and they may be reluctant to be candid with therapists if they feel the information is not protected.
In fact, we had an incident in which lawyers at the County Jail allegedly advised their clients to withhold information from treating psychiatrists because of the apparent danger to confidentiality in the jail. There are very explicit laws governing the release of privileged information in psychiatric records.