We know that severe staffing shortages have severely compromised mental health care inside California state prisons and mental hospitals. And that the State of California puts a bandaid over the problem by hiring too many high-paid, short-term contractors and by shuffling prisoners around in search of care.
Because our Union’s plan to fix the problem has been largely ignored, we need to take that story public and search for new allies in this fight. More than two-dozen UAPD psychiatrists took part in events at the State Capitol yesterday, bringing our story to a wider audience, including the state legislators who set the healthcare budget for CDCR and DSH. In addition to lobbying legislators, several of the doctors joined UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey, Executive Director Doug Chiappetta, Senator Richard Pan, and Senator Bob Hertzberg in a press conference on the steps of the Capitol.
Those efforts have already begun to pay off. The psychiatrist shortage is the lead story in today’s Sacramento Bee State Worker section, and it has been covered by Sacramento area TV news.
California prison psychiatrists demand pay raise, rip state spending on contractors (Sacramento Bee)
‘The turnover is so high.’ California prison psychiatrists say state doesn’t pay enough (Video from Sacramento Bee)
Doctors Rally At State Capitol For Better Salaries And Working Conditions (CBS 13)
We will continue to build public pressure until the State agrees to use some of its large budget surplus to address the psychiatric needs of the incarcerated and the involuntarily committed mentally ill.