September 7, 2008

Trapped in a treatment mall

The article by that title in this month's California Lawyer reminds me of the Eagles lyrics:
You can check out anytime you want,
But you can never leave.
"Pause for a moment in the sun-dappled area they call The Mall at Coalinga State Hospital, and it looks for all the world like Anytown, U.S.A. Against the south wall is the barber shop ("Back at 3:30" announces a sign in the window), and close by is the post office and the Union Square Cafe. Other destinations are known by names that make the facility sound more like a California theme park than a hospital: the Calistoga Dental Office, the Moss Landing Lending Library, the Candlestick Park Visitor's Center. Everything is Disneyland spotless, down to the buffed tile floors.

"But things aren't all they appear to be at Coalinga State Hospital--not by a long shot. The compound's theme-park veneer masks a much harsher reality: Coalinga is a long-term treatment facility for rapists and pedophiles. And most of the 762 patients currently in residence may never leave--except in a box."

The article continues here. The online version has lots of statistical trivia on California's Coalinga State Hospital, a frequent topic of this blog:

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