The 98-bed unit - which is geared to serve inmates experiencing acute
suicidal distress - currently is staffed with only two Psychiatric
Technicians: one who counts and distributes hundreds of prescriptions in
the medication room, which he or she is not allowed to leave, and
another that is charged not only with checking on and counseling all of
the suicidal inmates on the football-field-sized unit, but also with
providing laundry services, meal trays and other inmate needs and
requests. So severe is the Psychiatric Technicians' workload that
managers have pressured employees into falsifying suicide checks that
have not been done in a timely fashion - leading to discipline of those
scrambling to do the best work possible under impossible circumstances.
Union activists and representatives have been warning Federal Prison
Receiver J. Clark Kelso and his nursing management for months about
staffing concerns at the state-of-the-art Stockton facility, which has
only been open a year. To date - and even in the face of withering media
reports - the Receivership still has not responded to union requests to
add at least one more Psychiatric Technician on the unit to better help
inmates in crisis.
"We're at this facility to help uphold the Receiver's 'constitutional
level of care' for inmates with severe mental illnesses," said CAPT
Corrections Chapter President Jennifer Are, PT. "But we can't help those
in need if the Receiver won't give us the staff we need to help them."
CAPT's board of directors - which includes Psychiatric Technicians from
state hospitals, developmental centers and prisons across California -
voted in favor of holding the informational picket, and several
Psychiatric Technicians from other state facilities will be joining
their coworkers at CHCF-Stockton to show support.
The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians is the elected
union representative for 7,000state-employed Psychiatric
Technicians and related employees who provide compassionate, professionalnursing,
mental health and developmental services for the Californians in our
care.CAPT also is the professional organization for all of
California's14,000 Licensed Psychiatric Technicians.
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