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Consideration Being Given To Secure Unit At BHD

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on October 30, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, or Behavioral Health Division as it is called today, once had secure units for the most violent patients.  These units were ended in the late 1990s.

There was a proposal in 2007 to resurrect the idea of a secure unit but Scott Walker rejected that idea.

Also in 2007, it was found that there was a 50% jump in patient-on-staff assaults.  Despite being told that the issue was the severe staffing shortage, Walker did nothing to alleviate this problem.

Today, three years later, an audit found that there indeed has been a massive amount of violence at the mental health complex:

In the five years studied, more than 400 patients were involved in about 800 violent events, including assault, improper sexual contact and property damage, the report by Auditor Jerome Heer says.

To make matters worse, it was also reported that the cover up at BHD continues, with the managing attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin stating that they are still being stymied in regards to getting requested documents and reports from BHD.

Disability Rights Wisconsin is an advocacy group empowered by the state to do audits and has been welcomed by Scott Walker to do a thorough study of BHD.  Apparently the memo of this welcome has not reached county attorneys who are stalling the release of said documents.

DRW is now planning on suing the County in federal court to get access to these records.  The hang up appears to be because DRW, while promising not to identify patients, will not promise not to point out descriptions of specific problems.

On a positive note, the article goes on to say that Geri Lyday, the interim Director of BHD, is open to the idea of establishing some sort of secure unit, the most likely being simply and all male unit which would be the least expensive of all the options.

The report from the county auditors can be found by clicking here.


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