Oct 16, 2017
The secretary for Maryland's Department of Health and four other officials are being held in contempt of court, due to the crisis in hospital placement for certain psychiatric patients. Last year, the Baltimore Public Defender's Office sued the state because very ill patients, accused of serious crimes, simply waited in jail due to a lack of beds in secure psychiatric hospitals.
But the problem did not begin last year, nor with the Hogan administration. The policy of closing psychiatric hospitals has come from every single administration for the past 60 years! And this problem affects every state, not just Maryland, with other lawsuits filed on behalf of the mentally ill.
Politicians everywhere claimed it would save money needed for the treatment of the mentally ill to close psychiatric hospitals and put these patients in the "community." That is an excuse for people not getting professional care they need, or even being kept in jail. What the politicians did was to eliminate 90% of psychiatric beds in the United States since 1955.
The problem is not just the need for beds and psychiatric staff in Maryland. It's how this society shows complete contempt for those suffering mental illness.