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OPINION
August 21, 2012
Napa State Hospital is one of the five state mental health facilities in California charged with treating severely mentally ill, often violent, patients. Statistics and news reports suggest that living and working at the 1,100-bed facility in the last several years have been an ordeal for all. Documented incidents of violence by patients against staff in the second quarter of 2010 totaled 200 - double the total in the same period in 2009. Reports of patients assaulting one another increased sixfold, to 692, in the same year-over-year comparison.
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OPINION
January 7, 2014
Re "Have you seen my brother standing in the shadows?," Opinion, Jan. 5 Sarah Dusseault's story about her brother' struggle with mental illness and homelessness was heartbreakingly familiar. My sister with schizophrenia has been repeatedly homeless, jailed and hospitalized. We were fortunate, though, to have guardianship and conservatorship awarded in New Mexico. There is no guarantee of stability, but we have some leverage to help her. Simply from a state expense view, keeping our mentally ill out of jails and hospitals saves money.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 24, 2011 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- At an Assembly committee hearing on safety issues at the state's mental hospitals, lawmakers Tuesday received testimony about faulty alarm systems, daily assaults and an increasing number of patients with criminal histories. Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa) convened the Select Committee on Hospital Safety to explore solutions to violence at California's five psychiatric facilities. "All you need to know is that last year we had over 8,000 aggressive incidents and over 5,000 injuries," said Allen, a former psychiatric nurse.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 25, 2013 | By Jack Leonard
A serial rapist linked to attacks on dozens of women could be released to the Antelope Valley when he is freed soon from a state mental hospital, authorities said Friday. A state contractor announced at a court hearing that a single-family home in the unincorporated area of Lake Los Angeles had been found for Christopher Hubbart, according to a prosecutor who attended the hearing. The home is a few miles east of Palmdale. Residents and government officials from northern Los Angeles County reacted with outrage to the news, with some saying they plan to urge the judge overseeing Hubbart's case to reject the location.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 2012 | By Lee Romney and John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
When Garth Webb was sent to Napa State Hospital, his parents were relieved. The bellboy and amateur composer from Sebastopol had been in the throes of bipolar disorder when he was charged with threatening the lives of co-workers. His family encouraged him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, thinking that in a mental hospital he would get the treatment he needed. Instead, Webb and his parents say, he was repeatedly brutalized. His main tormentor, a patient in the room next door, assaulted him several times, wrapping him in a headlock and sexually abusing him. Soon after, the same man strangled a psychiatric worker on the hospital grounds.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 28, 2011 | By Lee Romney and John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
A Virginia psychologist who earned millions of dollars as a consultant to California's mental hospitals over nearly nine years has abruptly announced his resignation at a time when the facilities are struggling with increasing violence and staff dissent. Nirbhay Singh was a key architect of the state's plan to transform care at the hospitals, which mostly treat severely mentally ill patients accused or convicted of crimes, to give patients more control of their treatment. His resignation, which is effective Tuesday, comes less than two weeks after The Times interviewed a top state Department of Mental Health official about his performance and role.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2011 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
A new state department would be formed to manage California's violence-plagued mental hospitals under a proposal in the governor's Monday budget revision. The push to create a Department of State Hospitals — and eventually do away with the Department of Mental Health, which now oversees the facilities — comes as lawmakers and employee unions press for changes to address increasing patient assaults on fellow patients and staff. The budget document, known as the May revise, also includes $9.5 million for security teams at three of the facilities and an alarm system at Napa State Hospital, where a psychiatric technician was strangled in October.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 15, 2011 | By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
Two California mental hospitals have been released from federal oversight, ending a five-year court-ordered reform effort that implemented major changes in patient treatment. Atascadero State Hospital and Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino will no longer be subject to a consent judgment on patient care that state and federal officials reached in 2006, according to an order issued Monday by a federal judge in Los Angeles. But Chief U.S District Court Judge Audrey B. Collins extended the consent judgment until Dec. 2 for two other hospitals — Napa State Hospital and Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 1987 | From A Times Staff Writer
All five California mental hospitals have been accredited for the first time in state history to reach a "milestone of humanity," Gov. George Deukmejian announced Saturday in his weekly radio address. The accreditation of Metropolitan, Camarillo, Patton, Atascadero and Napa Hospitals, which contain 4,800 patients, was granted by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals. Fewer than 25% of the nation's 260 state mental hospitals meet commission requirements, the governor said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 22, 2013 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - Seven days after being confirmed by the state Senate, the official responsible for day-to-day operations at California's mental hospitals and prison-based psychiatric programs has abruptly taken an extended - and unexplained - administrative leave with pay. Kathy Gaither, confirmed as deputy director of the fledgling Department of State Hospitals on July 8, will be out of the office for an "extended period of time" because of...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 10, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed legislation aimed at protecting victims of sex crimes in state hospitals and developmental centers. SB 651 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) mandates that victims of suspected abuse in the hospitals and centers for the developmentally disabled receive immediate examinations by trained investigators at independent facilities to collect evidence. The investigations are in response a serious lapse in oversight at facilities, where numerous residents have been sexually assaulted under the state's care with no consequences, Pavley said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 9, 2013 | By Lee Romney
NAPA, Calif. - It has been nearly three years since psychiatric technician Donna Gross was strangled on the fenced grounds of Napa State Hospital - a slaying that helped expose a systemwide problem with patient violence. Although safety has improved since then, violence is still far too high, exacerbated by an increasingly prison-savvy population with predatory tendencies, an Assembly committee was told Wednesday. The committee focused its attention on the Napa facility, but will also be examining the other four state-run mental hospitals.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 23, 2013 | Lee Romney
The executive recruited two years ago to correct deep-seated problems at the state's mental hospitals is the subject of a sexual harassment investigation that was launched within a week of her state Senate confirmation, according to two independent sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Kathy Gaither, chief deputy director of the Department of State Hospitals, has been on paid administrative leave since July 15. In a brief email last month to notify employees, Cliff Allenby, the department's acting director, said Gaither would be out of the office for an extended period because of "unforeseen circumstances.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 21, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
A twice-convicted Orange County child molester will be re-committed to a state mental hospital after a jury unanimously found Wednesday that he remains a threat to children and the community. Carlos Dominguez, 65, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old female relative in 1979 and a 10-year-old daughter of a family friend in 1986 while on trips to Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland. It's the second time the Orange County District Attorney's Office filed a petition to have Dominguez committed as a sexually violent predator under a state law. A jury agreed with prosecutors, finding he would likely reoffend if released.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2013 | By Lee Romney, This article has been corrected. See the note below for details.
SANTA CRUZ - After months spent in a state mental hospital, Charles Anthony Edwards was brought Monday to a Santa Cruz County courtroom, where a judge will determine whether he should be tried in a slaying that shocked this beach town. Edwards' public defender conceded during the first day of an expected two-day preliminary hearing that his client had been identified by two witnesses to the stabbing of downtown business owner Shannon Collins. The stocky 44-year-old Edwards was arrested not far from the street where Collins fell, her right carotid artery and jugular vein slashed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 22, 2013 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - Seven days after being confirmed by the state Senate, the official responsible for day-to-day operations at California's mental hospitals and prison-based psychiatric programs has abruptly taken an extended - and unexplained - administrative leave with pay. Kathy Gaither, confirmed as deputy director of the fledgling Department of State Hospitals on July 8, will be out of the office for an "extended period of time" because of...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 2012 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
California officials Monday filed documents in U.S. District Court opposing extended federal oversight of two state mental hospitals, arguing that new leaders have already taken measures to improve patient care and safety. The state attorney general's filing came in response to a scathing U.S. Justice Department portrayal last month of Napa State Hospital and Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk. Federal attorneys faulted the hospitals for preventable suicides, nursing errors, improper use of restraints and unchecked violence.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 | By Jack Leonard
A convicted serial rapist who has been ordered released under strict supervision in Los Angeles County embraced intensive treatment for years while locked in a state mental hospital and is not a public safety risk, his attorney said Wednesday. Christopher Evans Hubbart's request for release was supported by his treating psychologist at Coalinga State Hospital and the hospital's medical director, said Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Jeff Dunn. Dunn said his 62-year-old client will have to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, report his movements and submit to regular lie detector and other tests once he is conditionally freed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Jack Leonard and Abby Sewell
Los Angeles County prosecutors are seeking to stop a convicted serial rapist who has spent nearly two decades in state mental hospitals from being released in the county. Assistant Dist. Atty. Joseph Esposito told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that his office had flown a prosecutor to San Jose to file legal paperwork to block Christopher Evans Hubbart from being freed in Los Angeles County. A Santa Clara County judge ruled in May that Hubbart, 62, could be conditionally released under strict monitoring conditions to Los Angeles County, where Hubbart was born and raised.
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