Massachusetts Governor Calls for Limits on Restraints and Seclusion


Governor Deval Patrick, citing the 2009 death of Joshua K. Messier who died while under restraint by guards at Massachusetts’ Bridgewater State Hospital, is calling for limits on restraints and seclusion saying that unless an inmate poses a serious danger to themselves or others they “should not be tied down, limb by limb, in the 21st century here in Massachusetts.”

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Of further interest:
Restraints Banned After Man Killed (PsychCentral)
A homicide at Bridgewater State Hospital raises profound questions about care for the mentally ill (Boston Globe)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. This murder of a psychiatric patient is an outrageous crime that needs our immediate attention, including various forms of protest. People must read the entire Boston Globe expose of this story. I just attempted to send Kermit a copy of the whole article from my own online subscription to the Boston Globe.

    The original coroner’s report back in 2009 labeled this a homicide. This was subsequently changed when other political influences interceded in the case. Since this murder took place 5 years ago nobody has been indicted OR EVEN DICIPLINED for this crime. This clearly shows how much a human being labeled as “schizophrenic” is valued in today’s society. The family has filed a civil suit for their son’s death but still want legal justice for those responsible.

    I would hope that some one from MIA could reach out to this family and offer support, introduce them to MIA, and perhaps interview them for a blog posting at MIA.


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  2. Here’s the video of the murder:

    It’s pretty much the same thing that happened to this 135 lb woman – only when six giant men strap a woman to a table, she is of course terrified she’s going to be raped. Well, being “snowed” is a type of rape.

    It was ordered by V R Kuchipudi at the ELCA Advocate Good Samaritan hospital in Downers Grove, IL. I’d been shipped to him medically unnecessarily by doctors who wanted to cover up a prior “bad fix” on a broken bone of mine and a “Foul up” with subsequently given and unneeded Risperdal. Plus, medical evidence of the alleged sodomy of my four year old, covered up by an ELCA pastor. How low can the American medical community and ELCA “winking and nodding” homosexual child molestation cover up specialists go?

    I’m quite certain the ELCA hospitals should not actually be in the business of attempting to murder nice mommies to cover up medical errors and alleged child abuse by ELCA pastors and / or their friends. But apparently that’s what they are now in the business of doing.

    I’d like my nice Christian values democracy back, please. Shame on the religions that have stopped behaving as Christians and turned themselves into child sodomy cover up organizations.

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  3. I can think of *nothing* more disgusting than the way the “mentally ill” are treated in this country. It’s disgraceful. And there are *no excuses* that can be made. None!

    Children are sacred. And a society is best judged by how it treats its *most vulnerable*. This is *shameful*.

    We have to replace this shattered system. Not “reform” it, but REPLACE it!


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  4. From the Boston Globe- March 10, 2010:

    Leslie Walker, executive director of Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, called for an independent review of Messier’s death. She called his placement at Bridgewater State an example of the “CRIMINALIZATION of mental illness,’’ with inmates sent to the correctional facility because the mental health system has FAILED to help them.

    “This is a hospital,’’ she said. “He was someone who needed to be protected and cared for and made well enough to leave.’’

    So, nearly 4 years later and no prosecution of the guards most definitely responsible for the murder of this young man who was sent to the state mental prison though Josh was never charged with a crime!!!! The private hospital that Josh’s parents had placed him there completely failed to provide compassionate care, help get to the root cause( s) for his altered mental state which IMO just escalated Josh’s physical outbursts. So, Josh gets sent to this prison where the guards identify him as the man who likes to hit others. And those guards decided to teach Josh a lesson which led to this atrocious homicide. Absolutely, I’m asking why has the news media ( who cares if it’s the right or left reporting these human rights deaths) have not expanded this by now???

    To Josh’s parents, my deepest sympathy. I, too, just like Josh’s father COULD not watch the video showing his son’s murder. I stopped viewing it as it’s too horrifying. And I would like to echo the father’s words in one article: it’s impossible to live with the death of our “child” who were normal, healthy, vibrant functional young adults ( Josh was in his freshmen yr at the U of Dartmouth) when he had an alteration in his mental status which landed Josh in a psych unit. As my family and I know like this family, the diagnosis of psychosis, ending up labeled with either bipolar one, or some form of schizophrenia, in America, is a recipe for death.

    I wish society would realize ANY family can fall victim because of these horrific, stigmatizing “MI” labels, with the MH paradigm of psychotropic treatment once their teens, young adults are sucked into the vortex of this “system”. I don’t know Josh’s ” recreational” drug use history but I’d wager there was something with a chemical substance that initially triggered Josh’s severe emotional crises. It’s beyond time ALL of us unite, as Duane says, and I concur. ” Children are sacred. ” This MH ” system” is a tainted, broken industry. Whose ” child ” is next? I wish I knew how to ignite action because surely, across this country, there are so many parents beside the Messiers, and my family that are losing our most precious treasures, our ” children” everyday.

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