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US, Massachusetts prison officials strike mental health deal

US, Massachusetts prison officials strike mental health deal

BOSTON (AP) — Federal investigators announced an agreement with Massachusetts prison officials Tuesday designed to ensure better care for those in the custody of the state Department of Correction who are suffering from serious mental health issues.

The resolution follows the release of a scathing report two years ago by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office that found troubling conditions inside Massachusetts prison facilities that authorities said had led to prisoners dying or seriously injuring themselves while on mental health watch.

The investigation, launched in 2018, found Massachusetts did not adequately supervise incarcerated individuals in mental health crisis, did not provide them adequate mental health care, and used prolonged mental health watches under restrictive housing conditions.

Under Tuesday’s deal, the state has agreed to improve policies and training related to mental health care.