The union representing California state psychiatric technicians says that two of its members were forced to fake inmate suicide-monitoring records and were then disciplined when video recordings revealed the false documentation.
The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians alleges that managers at the prison medical facility in Stockton ordered those employees and others to document that they checked patients in the mental health crisis unit no less than five times per hour, even though other work kept the employees from adhering to that schedule.
When surveillance tapes reportedly showed that the suicide rounds weren’t done that frequently, one technician was rejected on probation. Another was suspended, union officials said.
“We’ve told the department, ‘You’re putting our people in positions where they can’t do the work,’” said union attorney Steve Bassoff. “They haven’t responded.”
Two inmates in the unit have attempted suicide in the last three months, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Dana Simas said. Both survived. She could not say if the attempts occurred when suicide monitoring had lapsed.
The affair has sparked a round of finger pointing between Corrections officials and California Correctional Health Care Services, the agency run by federally appointed receiver J. Clark Kelso to clean up California’s inmate medical system.