Pas-de-Calais: faced with the treatment inflicted in a mental health center in Lens, the prison controller calls for urgent measures

Improper isolation and restraint measures, poorly heated rooms, violation of privacy… The general controller of places of deprivation of liberty (CGLPL) calls for urgent measures in the face of the treatment inflicted in the Jean-Baptiste mental health center -Pussin in Lens (Pas-de-Calais). In a report made public on Tuesday March 1, he pinpoints the lack of overall management, the non-respect of the law and the absence of staff training, which lead to dysfunctions “of particular gravity and old”infringing the fundamental rights of individuals.

According to this report, “adults and minors are subject to arbitrary isolation and restraint measures implemented in undignified conditions”. Without alternative solutions being sought, isolation and restraint measures are “practiced on a large scale, without respect for the rights of patients and without decision or medical reassessment”.

In isolation rooms, “particularly badly heated”the patient’s privacy is not respected because “he is exposed to the view of all (…) by screens of surveillance cameras located in the nursing station and visible from the corridor”, denounces the report. But beyond the dedicated rooms, isolation is practiced “in all rooms for periods very often exceeding the legal deadlines” and restraints for a whole day may concern patients in free care.

At last, “no consideration is given to the special needs of minors”whose legal representatives can no more assert the rights than those of other patients.

While care without consent must be subject to appeal, patients are not informed of their rights and, in the majority of cases, do not attend hearings before the judge of freedoms and detention because they do not have not received appropriate information on this subject or because their risk of running away is considered too high. Corn “Such a reason cannot be considered as a medical reason”criticizes the report, also mentioning the non-execution of a court decision requesting the lifting of hospitalization without consent.

In a letter sent in response, the Keeper of the Seals, Eric Dupond-Moretti, announced his intention to broadcast “an instruction” for “clarify the conditions of the balance to be found between the risk of the patient running away and the importance of the appearance at the hearing”. Furthermore, he “deeply regret” that a court decision to lift a hospitalization measure “was not immediately implemented”.

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