Sleep Expert Reports about 30 minute “welfare checks”

 

excerpted from Dr. Jamie Zeitzer’s Oct 2015 Report:
” …While this was instituted as a safety measure, including the prevention of suicides, it has created an even more disrupted sleep environment, one that will actually lead to an increase in suicidal ideation…

An extensive literature that covers the gamut from animal studies to highly controlled studies in humans to epidemiologic studies of many different populations from around the world all come to the same conclusion – there are serious ramifications of sleep loss on both physical and mental health. … A recent series of studies in Veterans has further pointed to the strong connection between suicidality and sleep, so much so that treatment of sleep problems in Veterans is considered part of the first line of treatment in reducing the risk of suicides. The negative health consequences of inadequate sleep has been extensively documented and nowhere in the literature is there a report on as severe a disruption in sleep as is occurring in the Pelican Bay SHU. …

There have been no direct studies of intentionally waking an individual every thirty minutes every night for days, weeks, or months, as doing so would he considered highly unethical in a research environment. …”

excerpted from Dr. Thomas Roth’s Oct 2015 Report:
“…This level of sleep has been shown to have profound effects on cognitive performance, memory, mood, immune function, pain sensitivity, metabolism, and other parameters. … Importantly these effects accumulate across time. Thus as these checks are done nightly their negative effects will become greater across time. …

Many of the behavioral and physiological consequences of sleep deprivation have been repeated by simply arousing normal individuals repeatedly during sleep. Similarly many sleep disorders (e.g. sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome) have significant morbidity associated with their repeated arousals from sleep. …. These arousals lead to increases in circulating norepinephrine levels, which are associated with negative cardiovascular effects. This effect has been shown in people with different sleep and medical disorders, and in normal people.  ”

excerpted from Dr. Terry Kuper’s Oct 2015 Report:
“…In other words, the sleep deprivation caused by noise generated during the safety checks may actually make prisoners more at risk of self-harm. …”
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On October 13 and 14, 2015, attorneys Anne Weills and Carol Strickman conducted confidential in-person interviews with 13 Pelican Bay SHU prisoners about the 30 minute checks and completed survey questionnaires for each.  Here is their Report on Prison Interviews about Guard One 30 Minute Cell Checks

In Jan 2016, after over 5 months of guards doing the “checks” every 20-30 minutes (Aug 2, 2015 to early Jan 2016) in Pelican Bay SHU, the checks were reduced to 40 rather than 48 times a day.  Attorneys conducted follow-up interviews with prisoners in Pelican Bay SHU.  Here is the Follow-up report on sleep issues – final – January 2016

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