Scandal at Bridgewater State Hospital

A Globe investigation found that the state’s prison for men with mental illness has seen multiple patient deaths under illegal conditions.

Restraints cited in three deaths at Bridgewater

Bridgewater houses prisoners with mental health issues.


Despite questionable care, the state hospital’s health care provider won a five-year contract to work across the Mass. prison system.

// A death in restraints after ‘standard procedure’

Joshua Messier was having a schizophrenic attack, then died as Bridgewater state prison guards subdued him.

// Bridgewater restraints use rose, even after patient’s death

Patients at Bridgewater were placed in restraints or isolation at more than 100 times the rate as patients at other state mental health facilities in 2013, records show.

// New scrutiny for Bridgewater State Hospital after complaints

A federally funded watchdog group has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse and neglect of inmates at the facility.

// Bridgewater State Hospital slow to embrace change

While other mental health centers reduced their use of seclusion and restraints, Bridgewater relied on them even more.

// Inquiry into Bridgewater death ordered

A special prosecutor will conduct a criminal investigation into the death of a mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital.

// Prison chief resigns over Bridgewater inquiry

Luis Spencer allegedly delayed an internal investigation at embattled Bridgewater State Hospital.

Patrick says he will look into death at Bridgewater

Governor Deval Patrick also said the search for answers to the questions surrounding Joshua Messier’s death is continuing.

Three guards to face charges in Bridgewater patient’s death

Three former guards at Bridgewater State Hospital will face charges of involuntary manslaughter and civil rights violations.

Bridgewater State Hospital patients sue care providers

The company that provides medical and mental health care at troubled Bridgewater State Hospital is facing a civil rights lawsuit from three former patients who say the firm’s doctors and nurses violated their rights by subjecting them to prolonged periods of seclusion, sometimes while strapped to a bed.

// 3 Bridgewater guards fired after man’s death

The correction officers have been fired for the role they played in the death of Joshua Messier at Bridgewater State Hospital.

// Correction chief, staff rebuked in patient death

Governor Patrick announced disciplinary measures in the case of a mentally ill man who died in restraints at Bridgewater State Hospital.

// Lawsuit targets isolation at Bridgewater hospital

The lawsuit accuses officials of illegally keeping a 31-year-old mentally ill man in seclusion or strapped to a bed for days and even weeks on end.

// Scathing study cites Bridgewater practices

The report demands reforms far beyond what Governor Patrick plans.

// Coakley’s office will review 2009 death at Bridgewater

The Mass. AG’s office will look at the circumstances surrounding Joshua Messier’s death at the state hospital.

// State deal pledges better care at Bridgewater Hospital

In the agreement, a monitoring group will be at the troubled hospital to watch how guards and clinicians treat mentally ill patients.

// $3m settlement reached in Bridgewater hospital death

The settlement follows a Boston Globe story detailing the death of Joshua Messier at Bridgewater State Hospital five years ago.

About the investigation

They were the ultimate forgotten people, three men locked inside a state psychiatric facility where poorly trained prison guards routinely used excessive force to keep control over patients suffering from schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses.

And when Joshua Messier, Bradley Burns and Paul Correia died at the hands of their caretakers at the state prison known as Bridgewater State Hospital, Massachusetts officials did their best to cover up the deaths.

But Boston Globe reporter Michael Rezendes made the mistreatment of Messier, Burns and Correia unforgettable in 2014, exposing the systemic, illegal use of physical restraints and solitary confinement that contributed to their deaths at the state's only secure facility for mentally ill men in the criminal justice system.