FFIMI agrees that the oversight of Bridgewater State Hospital belongs with the Department of Mental Health, and NOT the Department of Corrections. We agree with writer, Robert Weber of Newton, MA, that without this change, the conditions for the persons served at BSH will not improve.
I am a retired attorney who spent more than 40 years representing patients at Bridgewater State Hospital. Thursday’s editorial (“Bridgewater Hospital was improving. What happened?”) is simply the most recent commentary on the extremely poor treatment the Commonwealth provides to some of our most seriously mentally ill men. However, the editorial misses one of the most important conclusions from the Disability Law Center report. It clearly states that the state-run facility for these mentally ill men should be owned and operated by the Department of Mental Health, not the Department of Correction.
The Department of Correction operates prisons. It is not surprising that it hires a private agency that is a major provider of services to prison populations to operate the facility.
Massachusetts is one of only a couple of states that has failed to have its Mental Health Department care for and operate its facility for mentally ill men who need to be held there. As long as the Department of Correction is in charge of Bridgewater State Hospital, these problems will persist. We will see more reports like that of the Disability Law Center, and the Globe will continue to write editorials about the problem.