Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lock up or field trips?

by blogger msb

In Seattle, a convicted killer escaped during an annual field trip. Phillip Arnold Paul was one of 30 mental patients from Eastern State Hospital recently taken to the local fair by several staff members. Paul, who was classified schizophrenic and acquitted of murder, vanished from the fair with a backpack full of clothing, food and money. He was later apprehended on the side of the highway several miles from the fair.

Shortly after the escape, Susan N. Dreyfus, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, ordered a halt to all field trips for "forensic patients," those committed for treatment as a result of criminal proceedings, at all three of the state's mental institutions..."We are committed to finding out how and why this happened, why there was an unacceptable (two-hour) delay in notifying local law enforcement of his escape, and how potentially dangerous patients were brought to such a public venue with the reported staffing ratios"

The really sad part...this is the second time Paul has escaped from a field trip and endangered those around him.


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Anonymous said...

I think that while it is reasonable to take prisoners out for field trips, it is a bit extreme to take them to a fair or something that is classified as more "fun" than educational. Also, if a prisoner attempts to escape during a field trip, that should end their privileges for a year, if not completely. Finally, there should be some sort of contingency plan ready incase anyone escapes, gets injured, or commits a crime while out.


Anonymous said...

Prisoners should be able to go on trips that benefit to rehabilitate or better them, but allowing them to go to fairs or things like that isn't acceptable. Prisoners are in prison for a reason: to protect society, so taking them to a far is creating a little too much fun for them. Plus allowing them to travel to a social and fun place as a fair creates distraction to guards and others watching prisoners. Just like the man that escaped, many others could just as well because they are given a recreation too big for them. They are in prison because of the crimes they commit, not to be allowed to go to a fair.


Anonymous said...

I understand that is it reasonable that prisoners would be allowed to go on structured field trips in order to help better themselves in social situations. My only suggestions would be maybe leave the schizophrenic, murders that already tried to run away once at the facility, or assign a couple of people to people with that much mental instability. That or maybe attach some form of tracking equipment to them. Overall, it seems like a good-hearted plan, but something that should be held until we have the proper means to reintroduce people of this nature into social situations like a fair.


Anonymous said...

It is a good idea to allow prisoners to go on field trips but in this particular case i dont believe this prison should have been allowed to go or he should have had more supervision at the least. Considering the fact he had also escaped once before during a field trip and while being brought back assaulted an officer i dont think it is fair to the people in the community for him to be able to be out and socializing after such behavior.

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