The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 13, 2014

Cornish revealed truth about security hospital


The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thank you Rep. Tony Cornish for revealing the truth about the chaos and dysfunction at Minnesota Security Hospital.

I agree that Department of Human Services and National Alliance on Mental Illness are living in "La La Land." As a retired security counselor lead and state-wide trainer for more than 30 years, I have been saddened by the continual worsening of the culture and treatment. In their Your View published June 8, DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and NAMI Director Sue Abderholden suggest that improved training will solve the problem. In years past, until DHS started adding their expertise, we had excellent training in handling volatile situations and aggressive clients. Then those powers that be — those who have never dealt with dangerous and violent clients — decided that it was punishment to lock up those that were posing a danger to themselves, other clients and staff because they were mentally ill.

They played the punishment card instead of remembering that the mentally ill and dangerous clients were committed to the hospital by the courts, for a reason. They had committed a violent or dangerous crime against society. They forgot that the rest of us who live in society are held to a standard of societal behavior and that there are consequences for violating those standards.

Their decisions have created an unsafe, unrealistic environment for clients and staff alike. It has set up continual assaults and injuries against other patients and staff. Staff who are trying to do a job where their hands are tied and concerns for safety are ignored. It also sets up a lose-lose situation for clients who are taught at the hospital that there is no accountability or consequences for their inappropriate and violent behaviors.

I ask you, is that an effective treatment technique? If the goal of DHS and NAMI is for the clients to return to the community then their message needs to be clear: Violence will not and can not be tolerated.

Doug Kassuelke

North Mankato