The attorneys say that the practices at Bridgewater violate state law, as well as a 1988 settlement agreement and the facility’s own written policies. In 2003, a medium-security treatment unit at Taunton State Hospital was shut down, leaving nothing between private and state-run mental health facilities and the maximum-security Bridgewater facility. That has contributed to the problem, as has a lack of attention — and funding to address the issue — from elected officials, Weltman suggested.
“There’s no place else for them to go,” said Weltman.
The lawyers will ask a judge to certify a class action on behalf of all of the civilly-committed patients at Bridgewater. It will not include those who are there either as a result of a conviction or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
“What we want to happen is some real change, not just for existing patients, but we’d like the system to change. And that’s only going to happen if the governor gets involved,” said Weltman.
Vilma Zomosa said she wants her son to receive treatment and eventually return home.
“He called me,” Zomosa said. “‘Mom, it’s not good for me.’ I’d like him to go to a good place.”
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.