Psychiatric experts decry use of restraints at boys school

News

June 14th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two psychiatric experts testifying in a lawsuit against the Iowa Human Services Department say the use of isolation and restraints at the state school for delinquent boys can psychologically damage them. Psychologist Andrea Weisman testified in U.S. District Court in Des Moines that a Velco and leather contraption called “the wrap” used to restrain boys at the State Training School for Boys in Eldora is “akin to a torture device.”

The class-action lawsuit filed in November 2017 by two advocacy groups says the school is failing to provide adequate mental health care to the boys. The Des Moines Register reports that state administrators say the facility tries to minimize the use of restraints and isolation. The school’s superintendent, Mark Day, told the judge Thursday that he and his staff try to make the school feel more like a campus than a prison.