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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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    Correctional Centers incompatible for Psychosis patients: Director

    Correctional Centers are undoubtedly the only facilities housing people with mental disorders in Vanuatu, but Director Johnny Marango is anxious about being responsible for inmates with mental problems.

    He is of the view that as the number of people with mental problems increases, there is an urgent need for the Government to build a proper facility equipped with trained professionals capable of treating people with mental problems.

    Such facilities will not be restricted only to mentally ill inmates but also to serve mentally ill persons generally.

    While the aggressiveness and indecent behavior of people with mental disorders are screaming for attention, especially in the urban center, Mr Marango’s reason is clear, the Correctional Centers are not compatible, and Officers are not trained to look after inmates with such conditions. 

    Despite the lack of proper facilities, proper training, and expertise, the Correctional Services is currently housing people with mental problems who were sentenced to confinement by the Court.

    “The Correctional Services also remand people with mental problems to allow treatment and assessment until they are mentally fit to stand trial,” the Correctional Services Department Director explains.

    “According to the law, a person can only be remanded for 14 days, after 14 days they are to return to court to get an extension or bail as decided by the court,” he added.

    Without proper legislation, issues have occurred in the Correctional facilities.

    “There was a case where an inmate with mental problem was stuck in the Correctional Centre for almost 7 years just because he was not mentally fit to stand trial,” said Mr Marango.

    “While in custody he was treated and assessed but without any improvement therefore was finally discharged by the court.”

    The Correctional Services runs rehabilitation programs for detainees, but there are no special programs specifically designed for those with mental problems. While in custody, the only attention they get is treatments administered by the Mind-Care clinic.

    Mr Marango said there are even cases where families refuse to have them released from the Centers thinking it is where they are better off.

    “Dealing with people with mental problems is not easy, and due to our lack of capacity and incapabilities, they have a very slim chance of improving mentally.

    “Inmates with mental problems require proper facilities and social support.

    “Due to their conditions, there are times when they would get aggressive needing more attention from officers. 

    “Therefore, proper facilities, legislations, and trained professionals are required to properly address and tend to people with mental problems.”

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