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Mental Hospitals

In a landmark victory for people with mental disabilities, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that patients in state mental hospitals have a right to leave these institutions and move to small, community homes whenever they and their doctors think they are ready to do so. The "unnecessary segregation of persons with mental disabilities" is a form of discrimination outlawed by the Americans With Disabilities Act, the court said on a 6-3 vote.
March 16, 2007 | Scott Gold and Lee Romney, Times Staff Writers
Kanuri Qawi's unlikely 2004 court victory has had a lasting impact on California mental hospitals, adding to what one doctor calls a "culture of refusal," as more patients reject their medication. In the aftermath of Qawi's lawsuit, hospital officials are now required to hold what are known as Qawi hearings and must demonstrate clearly that a patient paroled to the hospital is dangerous before they can force medication.
July 18, 1987
Surely there can be no more poignant or tragic enactment showing the dangerous defects in so-called mental health law (Lanterman-Petris-Short Law of 1968) than that of Markowski. "He is a threat to everyone." (Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner) "I see no moral distinction between this case and the person who put poison in Tylenol." The judge felt the same way and attempted murder charges were filed. On June 23, we are informed, Markowski pleaded "Kill me, kill me. I have AIDS," while being apprehended.
A convicted rapist is heading back to a state mental hospital to await trial on whether authorities can continue to hold him years after he was to be released from prison. Retired Ventura County Superior Court Judge Allan Steele ruled Friday that Ronald Steven Herrera, 55, is likely to rape again and should remain in psychiatric lockup until a jury takes up the case.
April 5, 2007 | Scott Gold and Lee Romney, Times Staff Writers
State-employed psychiatric technicians, psychologists and other healthcare workers are readying a series of demonstrations designed to draw attention to California's mental hospitals, which are beset with a staffing crisis that employees contend is eroding safety and patient care. Members of the California Assn.
May 3, 2011 | By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A former candidate for the Thousand Oaks City Council has been sentenced to six years and four months in prison for threatening to kill six prosecutors in the Ventura County district attorney's office. Danny Avila was sentenced Monday after being convicted last month of six counts of making criminal threats and six counts of threatening public officials for threatening the prosecutors from jail in 2008. Avila ran for City Council in 2004. He was charged with hacking into the Verizon wireless system and sending bogus text messages to thousands of residents between midnight and 4 a.m. in the name of a fellow candidate.
August 5, 2011 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from San Francisco -- Michael Allen slipped on a pair of blue jeans and a short-sleeved polo shirt, forgoing his customary suit. On this day, he would not be the Santa Rosa assemblyman who has championed safety at the state's mental hospitals — documenting the tales of staff members who have been kicked, punched, bitten or splashed with bodily fluids by some of California's most troubled patients. When the former psychiatric nurse passed behind the barbed-wire fencing of Napa State Hospital, where patients who have been accused or convicted of crimes are housed, he was introduced as "Michael," a volunteer there to watch and listen.
November 9, 2005 | Mark Magnier, Times Staff Writer
They are known in Chinese as ankang, or "peace and health." But former inmates describe the country's police-run mental hospitals as decidedly less-than-serene places, with one recently freed political prisoner telling of sadistic nurses who performed electroshock therapy while other patients were forced to watch.
May 16, 2011 | Lee Romney
Nearly eight months after a Napa State Hospital patient strangled a psychiatric technician, lawmakers and employee groups are pushing proposals aimed at reversing a worsening safety trend at California's mental health facilities. Among them are bills that would enable officials to better assess patients' potential for violence, speed up the process to involuntarily medicate certain individuals and punish those who funnel contraband -- such as tobacco and cash -- to patients, feeding a black market that goes hand-in-hand with assault and extortion.
January 29, 2011 | Patt Morrison
Cartoons about mental health cover Elyn R. Saks' office door at USC. Not funny, you say? Oh yeah? Panel one: drowning man yelling to his collie, "Lassie, get help!" Panel two: Lassie, on the couch in a shrink's office. Saks deserves her laughs. The lawyer and law professor, author, MacArthur "genius" grant winner and head of USC's Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics has been on that couch -- and has probably hidden under it. Her book about life as a schizophrenic, "The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness," is as ferocious and droll as Saks herself.
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