Re "Scientologists Reach Behind Bars," May 29: Criminon International has been successfully delivering courses to inmates in California prisons since 1989. It is Criminon's philosophy that education and rehabilitation do reduce recidivism by creating more educated and ethical individuals. And we offer these services to anyone who wants our help.
The courses are intended to improve literacy, increase educational abilities and provide a common sense guide to better living for inmates who often are found to lack education in moral codes. These are life skills issues, not mental health issues.
Inmates report remarkable changes in attitude and behavior from doing our correspondence courses. The ramifications of this are far-reaching in a state where the recidivism rate is 76% and re-offending has become a way of life, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Inmates in our prisons have a constitutional right to have proper medical treatment for all illnesses, and those illnesses that are brain illnesses, and especially severe and chronic ones, should not be discriminated against.
Those in charge of making sure such treatment is provided ought to ensure it is given by those whom the state of California licenses to provide it.
Allowing the Church of Scientology access to people in captivity capitalizes on their helplessness. I hope this article points up for our state officials the need for providing proper treatment to our mentally ill inmates, many of whom are in prison as a direct consequence of their mental illness.
Elizabeth Galton MD
California Psychiatric Assn.