After Another Inmate Death, Still No Big Changes At Bridgewater State Hospital

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Bridgewater State Hospital at the Massachusetts Department of Correction in Bridgewater, Mass.(AP/Lisa Poole)
Bridgewater State Hospital at the Massachusetts Department of Correction in Bridgewater, Mass.(AP/Lisa Poole)

In 2014, Bridgewater State Hospital came under intense scrutiny for the the role guards may have played in the deaths of three inmates.

Soon after, Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled a more than $12 million plan to reform the state's prison for the mentally ill. The money would have hired more staff and created a separate facility for potentially violent inmates, among other things.

But, the reality is quite different. Bridgewater got just under $2 million — enough to hire just over a dozen new staffers.

Many mental health advocates in the state are now asking: What happened to reforming Bridgewater?


Michael Levenson, State House reporter for The Boston Globe. He tweets @mlevenson.


The Boston Globe: Bridgewater State Hospital Overhaul Remains Unfunded

  • "Three prison guards were fired for their role in the death of one of the inmates, Joshua K. Messier, and the state prison chief resigned after he was accused of slowing down an internal investigation into allegations that a guard had physically abused another Bridgewater patient. Patrick’s bill would have set aside $10 million to hire 114 additional mental health clinicians at Bridgewater to 'ensure patients committed there are getting the best possible care.' But six weeks later, when the bill emerged from the House budget committee, it had been cut to $1.9 million."

The Boston Globe: Bridgewater Inmate Allegedly Attempted Suicide 3 Times Before Death

  • "Joe Marino wants to know why his suicidal, mentally ill 43-year-old brother wasn’t monitored more closely; meanwhile, Marino’s death has led mental health advocates to renew calls to reform Bridgewater State Hospital and ask what happened to plans to revamp the troubled facility."

Radio Boston: Watchdog Group Reports Poor Conditions At Bridgewater State Hospital

  • "Patients are shackled to beds, kept in solitary confinement and treated like criminals — even though they haven’t been convicted of anything. The conditions at Bridgewater State Hospital are so bad that a federal watchdog group has called for major changes, including handing the facility over to new management."

This segment aired on April 19, 2016.


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