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Even in Pennsylvania, which has worked hard to eliminate coercion, restraints continue to be used about 10 times a year.

Seclusion has been eliminated, but voluntary disengagement had been preserved.

MHA also cautions against any unnecessary use of restraints; handcuffs and leg irons are still used indiscriminately for prisoner transfers throughout the criminal justice system.

MHA is already on record opposing use of such restraints in juvenile justice interactions whenever possible.4 MHA has authored legislation advocating an imminent danger standard for use of seclusion and restraints in child residential care.5 And caution is appropriate for adult prisoners as well, especially those with mental health conditions.

In 2002 he stated: Seclusion and restraint – with their inherent physical force, chemical or physical bodily immobilization and isolation – do not alleviate human suffering. And they do not help people with serious mental illness better manage the thoughts and emotions that can trigger behaviors that can injure them or others.

In his autobiography, A Mind that Found Itself, Beers remarked of the coercive aspects of the mental hospitals of his day: “Is it not, then, an atrocious anomaly that the treatment often meted out to insane persons is the very treatment that would deprive some sane persons of their reason? Curie, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from November 2001 to August 2006, made reducing and ultimately eliminating the use of seclusion and restraints in psychiatric facilities one of his top priorities.Seclusion and restraints have no therapeutic value, cause human suffering, and frequently result in severe emotional and physical harm, and even death.Therefore, as a matter of fundamental policy, Mental Health America (MHA) urges abolition of the use of seclusion and restraints and prohibition of the use of sedatives and other medications as chemical restraints.Trauma-informed care and strict safeguards are also needed, to minimize trauma and harm.Unfortunately, despite this progress, there are still insufficient national standards governing how and when to use or avoid seclusion and restraints.

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