Less pepper spray, please

Videos of state-prison guards pepper-spraying inmates shown in court

Attorneys representing California state-prison inmates in federal court on Oct. 1 showed two videos of prison guards pepper-spraying mental-health patients.

The attorneys showed the videos as part of their argument that the state should revise its policy of using force against the mentally ill, according to The Sacramento Bee. In June, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered an investigation of prison mental-health-care facilities overseen by the California Department of State Hospitals.

During the Oct. 1 hearing, the attorneys requested Karlton order the opening of a psychiatric-treatment center in Vacaville to treat inmates on death row; a review of death-row inmates’ mental-health needs; and revisions to state policies on the use of batons, pepper spray and other weapons on mentally ill prisoners.

Patrick McKinney, a state attorney, said “there is simply no pattern or practice of systemic use of force against the mentally ill” by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.