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Mental Hospitals

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 28, 2013 | By Paige St. John
Doctors at a second state psychiatric hospital have complained that staffing shortages are so severe that the care of patients and safety of workers are at risk. In an April 19 letter to state hospital officials, psychiatric staffers at Atascadero State Hospital raise "grave concern" over what they called an "increasingly severe shortage of psychiatrists at the hospital. " The letter was provided recently to The Times. As a result, the doctors state, psychiatrists are now required to work shifts covering up to four units with a total of 150 severely ill psychiatric patients, four times higher than the standard workload.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 9, 2013 | By Andrew Blankstein and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Over the objections of Los Angeles County mental health officials, a judge Thursday ordered an 86-year-old murder defendant to remain in the government's care and not be released to a family member. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norman Shapiro said that Nattie Kennebrew, who in 2009 allegedly shot and killed a handyman and tried to kill the manager at the Hollywood apartment building where he lived, must remain at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino and that the county must pay for his care.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2013 | By Lee Romney
Los Angeles officials are investigating reports that Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital bused indigent mentally ill patients with few or no resources to California cities. Spokesman Sandy Cooney said the L.A. city attorney's office was “gathering information and ... trying to determine whether what we gather warrants an investigation.” The Sacramento Bee reported last month that more than 200 Nevada psychiatric patients were given bus tickets and sent to Los Angeles County after their release from hospitals.
NATIONAL
April 12, 2013 | By Wes Venteicher, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The man who shot Ronald Reagan and three other men in 1981 has been behaving normally when he leaves the mental hospital in Washington, D.C., where he is being treated, according to Secret Service observations in newly released court documents. John Hinckley Jr., 57, shops at Wal-Mart, Target and PetSmart during visits to his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va. One of his first stops is often a Wendy's. At home with his mother, he performs lots of chores, plays guitar and makes art. He shows few of the symptoms that led to the 1982 finding that he was insane, and therefore not guilty of attempted murder and other charges in the assassination attempt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - A patient's private communications with his psychotherapist generally may not be used as evidence to commit him to a mental institution as a sexually violent predator, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday. In a decision written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state high court said a trial judge erred by ordering a therapist to disclose statements made by a parolee during state-required therapy. The therapist testified at a trial that determined that Ramiro Gonzales, 58, a Santa Clara County sex offender, was a violent predator who should be indefinitely confined to a state mental hospital.
OPINION
February 7, 2013
Re "Prison's revolving door," Editorial, Feb. 5 Crime and arrests in Los Angeles County continue to decline. On the countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee's website, the first annual report on public safety realignment shows recidivism rates lower than expected for people transferred from state prison to county supervision. Yet the same report says the population of L.A. County jails has risen by 22%. Why? In a 2007 study, USC psychiatry professor H. Richard Lamb found that 95% of the severely mentally ill men in the county's Twin Towers jail had been there before.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2012 | By Victoria Kim and Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
A U.S. District Court judge Monday released the state's mental hospitals from federal oversight on all but one issue - a significant step in ending a costly six-year reform effort. The extensive court-supervised changes were imposed on four hospitals in 2006 as part of a settlement to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department alleged that the state was violating patients' civil rights by heavily drugging and improperly restraining them and failing to provide appropriate treatment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 5, 2012 | By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times
A Santa Barbara judge has ruled that David Attias, who in 2001 declared he was the "angel of death" after killing four pedestrians and severely injuring a fifth, should be transferred from Patton State Hospital to a less restrictive outpatient program. Attias, then a student at UC Santa Barbara, was charged with murder after deliberately plowing his car into a crowd on an Isla Vista street. A jury in 2002 found him legally insane. In a ruling released Tuesday, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Adams said the now-30-year-old man was "clearly not the same vacant, troubled and confused David Attias" he observed while presiding over his trial.
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.
NATIONAL
July 27, 2012 | By Ian Duncan
A Maryland man who called himself “a joker” and threatened to go on a shooting rampage at his office with an arsenal of weapons was committed to a hospital on mental health grounds, police said Friday. Police said the suspect, identified in a police warrant as Neil Edwin Prescott, was wearing a T-shirt that read “Guns don't kill people, I kill people” when he was initially interviewed by police this week. Prince George's County, Md., Police Chief Mark Magaw said at a news  conference that the suspect had made multiple threats to his colleagues by phone.
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