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TMCNet:  August 27: Licensed Psychiatric Technicians Picket Stockton Prison Hospital Over Understaffing

[August 22, 2014]

August 27: Licensed Psychiatric Technicians Picket Stockton Prison Hospital Over Understaffing

--(Business Wire)--



WHAT:               Informational picket and rally to protest California Health Care Facility-Stockton's unsafe staffing of its Mental Health Crisis Unit for suicidal inmates.
WHERE: California Health Care Facility-Stockton, 7707 South Austin Rd., Stockton, Calif.; main gate.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 27; noon - 1 p.m.
WHO: Members of the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, the elected union representative of State of California-employed Licensed Psychiatric Technicians.
VISUALS: Dozens of Psychiatric Technicians carrying picket signs.
WHY: Psychiatric Technicians working in the California Health Care Facility - Stockton are taking a stand and hitting the streets August 27 to protest the facility's dangerous understaffing of its Mental Health Crisis Unit.

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 (News - Alert) 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 7,000
state-employed Psychiatric Technicians and related employees who provide compassionate, professional
nursing, mental health and developmental services for the Californians in our care.
CAPT also is the professional organization for all of California's
14,000 Licensed Psychiatric Technicians.


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