The union representing employees at Fulton State Hospital, Missouri’s only maximum security forensic facility, is asking the Missouri Mental Health Commission to take steps to stop the violence against staff and clients at the hospital.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is calling on the Commission to install a man-down alarm system that would allow staff to quickly be made aware of emergency situations.
“The system basically would immediately alert the staff throughout the facility when there’s been an attack on staff or some sort of an emergency where all staff needs to react to,” said AFSCME Communications Assistant Jade Mendoza in an interview with the Missourinet. “This is because the amount of assaults that are in that facility has really skyrocketed in the past few years.”
While Fulton is not a prison it does house dangerous individuals – many of whom are prone to violence.
“The Fulton State Hospital is Missouri’s only maximum security forensic center,” said Mendoza. “Basically, the people incompetent to stand trial because of mental defect – this is the facility they go into.”
AFSCME claims there has been an increase in the number of serious injuries at the hospital in recent years, and bases that on workers’ compensation claims.
“These are serious injuries that require surgical procedures or some type of follow up with medical care,” said Mendoza. “Those have risen from about 390 to about 650 in the past four years.”
Man-down alarm systems are currently in use at similar facilities across the country, and AFSCME would like the hospital in Fulton added to the list. The union is requesting a decision no later than next Thursday.