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Small Psychiatric Prison Unit Coming To Oregon

Language is important. Language is about communication. Language is also about lying. When disinformation is as common as it is, you get a lot of lies. Lies are about saying one thing so that you can do another thing altogether. When we don’t give a little thought to the words that are being used, we let people get away with murder.

Case in point, a news story on central Oregon’s KTVZ.com runs Region’s Secure Mental Facility Set to Open.

A mental health facility, Deschutes Recovery Center in Bend, will house 16 state mental health patients and is set to open next Tuesday.

So far so good until you get to the next paragraph.

“It’s secure, meaning people can’t come and go as they wish out the front door. But when you are inside the facility, we really want it to be home-like,” Kevin McChesney, regional director of operations for Telecare, said Tuesday night.

The “facility” is not being called a hospital? That’s the problem with most state hospitals. We call them hospitals but they are actually prisons. Calling the place a “facility” doesn’t make it a “hospital” or a “prison”, but keeping people from coming and going as they wish makes the place a prison. This “secure” is of the same order as that security seen at a maximum or a minimum security prison.

Just imagine, in the distant future maybe they will only be required to wear electronic house arrest monitoring ankle bracelets. What have we got here? We’ve got a homey little prison. Enjoy.

“We are a secure facility, so the doors are locked. But we are not the state hospital, we are a community placement,” [Jay] Harris said.

Whatever that means!? I think he is trying to say this “facility” will be a prison occupying space in a community.

“We really wanted it to be home-like because we want people to like it here,” McChesney said. “We want to demystify what the insides of these programs look like.”

Oh, yeah. We’re all about “demystification” alright. We just can’t go so far as to call a prison a prison.

Officials say patients will live there for two to three years, depending on their recovery.

Translation: The inmates at this psychiatric prison will be serving sentences of from two to three years length.

There is also talk in this article about “recovery”. This “recovery” remains undefined. Perhaps it has something to do with the inmates release from the homey prison in which they will be spending out their sentences.

I fear that we may have the beginning of a trend here. Perhaps rather than confining inmates to large state psychiatric prisons at a remove from the community, in the future they will be confined to smaller community located psychiatric prisons. From what I’ve seen, this seems to be the direction we are moving in.