Advocates for Ethical Mental Health Treatment
The state of New Hampshire has been engaging in the practice of placing non-adjudicated civilly committed individuals in the Secure Psychiatric Unit known as "SPU", in the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord, NH. This is a practice that has been in place for quite some time and permitted by statute. The state's position is that the individuals transferred to SPU are too dangerous to be managed at New Hampshire Hospital, the state's psychiatric hospital. This practice is wrought with numerous issues. First being that these individuals are moved from the jurisdiction of the NH Department of Health and Human Services to that of the Department of Corrections. SPU is not an accredited behavioral health treatment facility. Nor is it eligible for any type of reimbursement for treatment provided by the facility. Its reporting requirements of sentinel events and other quality information is not available to the public. The transfer of these individuals moves them from an accredited hospital setting to the prison. This practice effectively creates two classes of civilly committed individuals in the state of New Hampshire. Those who remain in a hospital and those who end up in the prison. This is an enormous disparity in treatment delivery. The the civil and human rights violations are clear. Individuals now languish in SPU for years in the absence of either being charged with a crime or having been adjudicated. The state refuses to transfer these individuals to licensed, accredited forensic facilities because of the cost involved. New Hampshire has no true forensic hospital. Attempts by State Representative Renny Cushing to begin the planning for such a facility have been dismissed by the New Hampshire State Legislature.