tv Second Look FOX October 23, 2011 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT
next on a second look, one year ago this napa state hospital worker was strangled. now this former patient is serving time for murder. we look across the fence at a place where some people say is dangerous. and why are some sex offenders still locked up even though they've served their time. all straight ahead tonight on a
second look. good evening i'm julie haener and this is a second look. it was one year ago today that a psychiatric technician was killed at napa state hospital renewing calls for greater security at the state mental security. last year staff suffered more than 5,000 injuries and more than 8,000 assaults. it's name is napa state hospital. patients and staff alike say it's more like a prison than a hospital. and as a result, the most dangerous are preying on the people around them. ktvu's john sasaki has our report. >> reporter: the proported mission of the hospital is to protect and heal but just about everyone there is saying that it's failing miserably. >> it's like a psychological rape on a daily basis.
>> i was abused, big time. >> reporter: three patients and seven staff members were attacked every day many by predatory criminals. >> he was sexually assaulted by a predator. >> reporter: shawn and janet web told us about their 30-year- old son garth. >> he's in prison, they call it a hospital but it is not. it is a penal colony or a prison or a jail. >> reporter: garth web landed in napa after making threats. >> the institution fails to maintain its safety. how is he being prepared for a life in the general population? >> reporter: sean and janet web they come to the hospital every week to see their son.
our requests to enter the hospital were denied. so to talk to web we had his parents call their son. the worse was when he says he was assaulted by jess massey who is accused of killing gross. >> i learned my lesson the hard way not to let your guard down and not be too trusting of the people around you. >> reporter: the dangers have exploded because of the dramatic shift in the patient population. in 1989 only 20% of the patients ended up thereafter committing crimes. now it's 88%. 16% are accused killers. >> the patients we have now are much more calculative.
they target. >> the cases are reviewed by the court. the control we would like to have we don't have. >> but it's still run like a hospital with no corrections officers. hospital police are on the ground outside. >> reporter: inside that sally port, once you pass there there's a prison mentality there that we're going to have to get under control. >> reporter: that sally port leads to the secure part of the hospital. but workers and patients alike say secure means only that it keeps the patients from escaping into the community. >> the hospital police are out there to my right and the sally port is all the way to my left. the hospital police take three to four minutes to get into the sally port. that needs to change like yesterday. >> yes, they found just a few months ago six or seven knives in the trees. >> reporter: all of a sudden we have thugs running the place here and it's hospital wide. >> they had 400 workers compensation claims last year
and over 1,000 assaults. so we believe there may well be dramatic savings by spending some money to make it a much safer environment. >> one day it's going to be my turn. either i'm going to get physically assaulted or sexually assaulted or both. >> reporter: another patient we spoke to by phone says this is his second state mental facility and his worse. >> i've been here since 2003, before that i was at atascadero. that's a lot more structured and a lot more secured. >> some of these individuals that are committed you know they find the state hospital setting as a place where they can be a lot stronger and prey on weaker people than if they were in prison. >> we are looking at increasing the resources where we can and figuring out how we can better accommodate the needs of staff wanting to have them on the units. >> reporter: much needed help that staff and patients say
can't come soon enough. jeff willard massey was first admitted into state prison as a teenager. he was sentenced to 20 to 25 years in life for the killing of janet gross. two months ago on the day of the sentencing, alex savedge spoke to the family of the victim. >> reporter: 20 to 25 years for jess massey. the state hospital patient that strangled janet gross. capache says his sister was murdered by a man she was trying to help. >> she's a very caring, loving individual and just lived for others rather than herself. >> reporter: gross was killed last october in this hospital courtyard. earlier this year ktvu was allowed access to the area. this was one of many attacks on staff members that led to new
safety measures. rehab therapist jennifer marshal says since gross's murder patients can no longer roam the hospital grounds unsupervised. >> our new administration is listening to us. i'm hoping that we can see more changes fast. >> reporter: napa state hospital has their issues. but i don't think they were set up to handle an individual like this. >> reporter: as part of a plea deal, massey agreed not to appeal his sentence. something gross's family is glad to hear. >> i just love my sister. and hopefully her death doesn't go in vain. >> reporter: the prosecutor in this case told me today massey shouldn't have been here at napa state hospital in the first place and now he's going to where he always needed to be, prison. but massey will be eligible to be freed on parol in eight
years. >> right now he's being kept in administrative segregation isolated from other prisoners. after a series of psychiatric tests he will be placed in a prison according to what psychiatric testing believe him to be. our cameras go inside napa state hospital. and employees talk to us about the dangers they face there every day
entered their living space at napa state hospital. but this tour comes because patients and staff feel they are constantly having bad days because they are in so much danger. >> every couple of weeks we get another report of a patient or staff that has been reverely injured. that that tells you it's still not safe. >> reporter: on our way in we stopped at the spot where gross was killed. >> we've requested for a wireless system on the 138 acres of this campus. >> cow don't find a -- you don't find a document that says, there's a potential to be assaulted every day. spit on, murdered, raped, you have no idea. you have no idea when you sign up for this. >> reporter: staffers believe
the administration is not protecting them. today i also obtained these photos from staff members who say they were also assaulted by patients in the past. >> we've increased hospital police officer presence. we began hiring 25 members who are safety and security focused. >> these incidents just keep haing and there does not seem to be an end to them. >> reporter: statistics show on average, 10 patients and seven staffers are assaulted every day. sean says his son was assaulted for the sixth time this mortgage. >> this is going into the third decade of same problems repetitively. the institution either has to be closed or totally revamped. >> reporter: staffers say they will move the most dangerous patients, they've also requested funding for 10 new
police officers all they say aimed at prevents another tragedy. 10 months after he took that tour, john sasaki took another tour. another patient say he had been assaulted. >> the biggest problem i have right now is my rib cage. >> reporter: two nights ago he was attacked by a patient on unit 3t at napa state hospital. >> i fell down on all fours then he kind of choked me like this. >> reporter: jesse we don't use his last name because workers worry about patients will get out and find them in the real word. says the patient had been there for a month and that jesse was the third person he's attacked. >> i told my coworker who was with me that night, i was calling her, help, help, i'm choking, i'm choking, i'm going to die, i'm going to die. >> reporter: this is the section time jesse has been
attacked here. we report frequently on these accidents including the killing of psych tech donna gross. >> it happened almost all the time. >> reporter: i always pray to god, i'm always thankful right after i sign out. you know. >> what are you going to do? where are you going to put all these people? you can't let them out on the street? >> sources tell me the patient who attacked jesse has not been arrested and is still on the unit. a crew put up that sign claiming employee appreciate day. the workers we spoke with said true appreciate will come in the way of a safer work environment. the federal government has from time to time investigated charges that patients rights were being violated because of the conditions there. the justice department began an investigation in 1985 that led to a federal lawsuit in 1990. a judges consent decree that
year put napa state hospital under federal supervision. the justice department again investigated napa state hospital for violations of patients rights. and again in 2006 the state agreed to a consent decree putting napa state under federal supervision. that decree remains in effect to this day. when we come back on a second look, are california prison inmates getting the psychiatric help they need? a bit later sex offenders still locked up after their served their sentence. we'll explain.
there are almost 160,000 inmates in california state prison. experts say about 12% suffer from some kind of mental illness. the department of corrections says it spends $26,000 per inmate on mental health care. but every patient at napa state hospital costs the state an average $211,000 a year. so are prisoners getting the treatment they need? ktvu's rob roth first brought us this report in 2001. this is california state prison sacramento. we get a rare look inside this maximum security facility home to even by prison standards some of the most dangerous inmates in california. this is how one inmate had to
have his blood pressure checked from inside a cage. about 800 inmates here roughly .25 of the population have been diagnosed as being mentally ill. by law they must receive treatment. for many that treatment means regular group therapy sessions. but some prisoners are considered so dangerous they are kept apart from other inmates and live in relative isolation. to receive group therapy these inmates arrive for the session in chains and are put in individual holding cells set up in a semi circle. >> they do have a at tendency to spit on one another and things like that. >> reporter: the prison law office calls this anti therapeutic and counter productive. but prison psychologists see it differently. >> does that work? is that effective.
>> you know when i first started working here it seemed really strange to me. what i see is it creates an environment where people tend to be violent, tend to be out of control can feel safe being angry and talk about things that really bother them because they know they are safe. they are protected from the other patients. >> reporter: but officials say that level of security is not required for most of the 19,000 mentally ill inmates treated in california prisons. while department of corrections officials don't give out numbers on how many are treated successfully they do say through medication, counseling, anger management and other therapies many inmates everyone violent ones have gotten their illnesses under control. >> i have seen it happen. i have seen people go from that setting to go into our general population and then subsequently going out to parol. >> reporter: each year the department of corrections parols about 10,000 mentally ill prisoners. many receive care on the
outside but once parol is over, many stop. only a few are paroled to mental hospitals. one of them was mike bowers. you may not remember the name or face you will probably remember what he did last month. >> we are being advised that there are items in the truck that are exploding. it is fully involved. >> reporter: on the night of january 16th bower's barreled into a government building. bowers had an extensive criminal record and had been in and out of prison six times since 1986. in 1994, prison doctors declared him mentally ill. he spent three years years here in a locked ward in atascadero where officials say bower often acted violently. district attorneys sought to keep bower locked in a hospital saying he was still mentally
ill. but bow bower wanted out. and in a review he was freed and three weeks later he crashed the truck. the department of corrections would not discuss the bower's case in any detail. but they said that the system did what they could for them. >> just because someone's mental illness has been treated does not mean he won't be violent. >> you hear about the outrageous cases. you don't hear about the cases where the person does respond and is no longer danger. >> reporter: still the federal monitor of the program criticized the department of corrections. among the criticisms, not enough mental health workers on the job and that's affecting the quality of care. department officials say they are vigorously trying to
with most crimes, when a prisoner does their time they are released back into the public. but that's not the case with some sexual offenders. it keeps them locked up for what they might do rather than what they've done. >> reporter: allen is a 52-year- old former teacher and coach who admits to sexually abusing 25 children mostly boys ages 9 to 17. >> i was definitely a child molester. absolutely. >> reporter: the state of california thinks allen is
still a child molester and a danger to society so even though he finished his prison term seven years ago allen is still lacked up at the atascadero state mental hospital along with 562 other child molesters and rapists. all of them are being held on what's being called civil commitment. states often use civil commitment to hospitalize mentally ill patients that pose a threat to themselves or society. >> i don't think it's fair. i think if they wanted to do it right, they would have given me therapy in prison. >> i think you can do better than that. >> reporter: therapy like this group session which allen attends and which the state hopes will make these predatorses effective. >> when you're in that point of anger and frustration. you really need a strong coping response. >> reporter: before they can leave the hospital allen and
the others in the treatment must finish a five stage program in the 8.5 years since lawmakers got tough on these sexual offenders only three people have made it through. only two of them patrick julati and bryan devries a child molester agreed to be castrated. hospital officials say all three have stayed out of trouble. >> you don't know what people will do. human beings are human beings, they do all sorts of different things. they surprise the best of us. all we can do is do the best job we can. >> reporter: tony is a three time convicted rapist he along with the majority of rapists here is refusing treatment. he says he does not have a mental disorder, he just made bad decisions and he has served his time and should be let go. >> you're not here for committing an offense. in prison you knew you did
something wrong. and you had to pay for it. >> reporter: critics of the program like psychiatrist dr. ted donaldon says the staid is recklessly extended the definition of commitment. california is one of 17 states with civil commitment laws for sexual predators one of those who helped write the california law says he doesn't think it went far enough. >> i think they should just lock them up if they committed some really basic violent crime they would have just been gone. >> but we're human being. we're collaborators of our product and we can change. >> reporter: the state is not so sure about that and they are working to keep those criminals locked up. i'm julie haener, thank you
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