The recent stories about Bridgewater State Hospital and its management of individuals with serious mental illnesses are sickening (“Bridgewater restraints use rose, even after patient’s death,” Page A1, April 6). Michael Rezendes’s reporting reflects a culture of punishment, not rehabilitation, and is reminiscent of the Frederick Wiseman documentary “Titicut Follies.”
Department of Correction Commissioner Luis Spencer’s extraordinary lack of leadership and admission that he has violated existing state law should result in his immediate dismissal. The hiring of Dr. Jeffrey Metzner, a national expert on seclusion and restraint, may be a positive step for reform or a public relations move. With the current correctional leadership in place, the public should have no confidence that any recommendations for improvement will be made public, let alone implemented.
The writer, former state commissioner of mental health, is an associate professor and chair of the health and mental health concentration at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.