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Callous and Cruel: Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons

"It is well known that US prisons and jails have taken on the role of mental health facilities. This new role for them reflects, to a great extent, the limited availability of community-based outpatient and residential mental health programs and resources, and the lack of alternatives to incarceration for men and women with mental disabilities who have engaged in minor offenses ... persons with mental disabilities who are behind bars are at heightened risk of physical mistreatment by staff. This report is the first examination of the use of force against inmates with mental disabilities in jails and prisons across the United States. It identifies policies and practices that lead to unwarranted force and includes recommendations for changes to end it" (p. 2). This report includes these sections: summary; key recommendations; background-disproportionate representation of individuals with mental disabilities in U.S. jails and prisons; life behind bars for persons with mental disabilities; the case of Jermaine Padilla; approaches to use of force; types of force used and their harms for prisoners with mental disabilities; retaliatory and gratuitous use of force; applicable constitutional and international human rights law; and detailed recommendations.

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133 pages

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