Tag Archives: says

Loneliness is a ‘giant evil’ of our time, says Jo Cox commission

One of the key architects of Britain’s welfare state would have added loneliness as society’s sixth “giant evil” if he were alive today, Rachel Reeves will say after completing a year-long study into the issue.

The Labour MP, who co-chaired the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness after her friend and colleague was murdered last year, will argue that the weakening of trade union, church, local pub and workplace ties have left a disconnected society.

“When the culture and the communities that once connected us to one another disappear, we can be left feeling abandoned and cut off from society,” she will say, describing the issue as a new social epidemic.

“In the last few decades, loneliness has escalated from personal misfortune into a social epidemic. More and more of us live alone. We work at home more. We spend a greater part of our day alone than we did 10 years ago. It sometimes feels like our best friend is the smartphone.”

In a speech at the Policy Exchange thinktank in London to mark the end of the commission, Reeves will say the “crisis of loneliness” would have made William Beveridge revise his list of “want, disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness” to adapt it to the 21st century. She will call for loneliness to be added to the list of immediate and urgent challenges to be overcome.

The MP, who worked with the Conservative Seema Kennedy to continue the commission after Cox was killed, will suggest the issue exposes weaknesses in the welfare state – with top down, target-driven payment by results failing to support people.

“We need a new kind of welfare system that acts as a convenor, bringing people together to help them help themselves,” she will say.

Cox was passionate about the issue, describing loneliness as a “shocking crisis” that she wanted to highlight during her time in parliament.

Reeves and Kennedy have also published a pamphlet in which they warn loneliness is damaging people’s physical and mental health and is more harmful than obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. They also say it inflicts a £32bn cost on the British economy every year.

Prof Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England, said: “I welcome the Jo Cox Foundation’s work to raise awareness of and take action to alleviate loneliness. Social isolation can have a devastating impact not only on people’s mental wellbeing, but evidence shows that it can also increase the risk of premature death by around a third.”

Reeves will claim that teachers, social workers, probation officers and others who can help connect people have been turned into “cogs in a machine”, focused on “meetings, testing, assessing, referring, auditing”.

“They are good people who want to make a difference, but nothing changes. Beveridge would not only recognise the evil of loneliness, he would follow up on his belief in voluntary action and give more power and control to people,” she will say.

Reeves will suggest that state intervention is not enough, and instead call for a plethora of smaller changes that can help bring people together.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

US prisoner gouged out eyes after jail denied mental health care, lawsuit says

A mentally ill Colorado prisoner gouged his eyes out and became permanently blind after jail officials repeatedly denied him treatment for psychosis despite multiple suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit.

Ryan Partridge, 31, sued Boulder law enforcement officials on Thursday, alleging that while he was jailed for months for minor offenses that were later dismissed, officers ignored numerous acts of self mutilation and responded to delusional episodes by beating and tasing him. Officials also ignored a judge’s emergency order to get Partridge psychiatric treatment, leaving him alone in his cell where he “plucked out his own eyeballs”, the suit said.

His case appears to be a particularly gruesome example of the way Americans with mental illness struggle to get help, and can end up in jails and prisons that punish them with cruel treatment and refuse to provide medical services.

“I hope that things will change, not just for people with mental disorders, but for the people in disciplinary,” Partridge said by phone, explaining how solitary confinement and other punishments exacerbated his mental illness. “Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation.”

Boulder County sheriff’s officials called the allegations “untrue and incomplete” in a statement, but did not comment on any specific claims.


Getting tased and beaten, all that is stressful. What can be worse than that is the delusion that arises in isolation

Ryan Partridge

Partridge began suffering from schizophrenia in his late 20s, and his parents were repeatedly forced to call the police due to violent outbursts, the suit said. The Boulder native was in and out of jail for minor offenses related to mental illness – all misdemeanors, such as loitering, trespassing and mischief – and at one point, he was homeless, Lane said.

Jail records show that Partridge was experiencing psychosis in early 2016 when he reported that he was going to gouge out his eyes and banged his head into a toilet, leaving him bloodied and with broken teeth, according to the lawsuit.

Although Partridge told a mental-health worker that he had suicidal thoughts and officials were aware of his psychosis, deputies repeatedly responded to him with violence, the suit said. One deputy allegedly punched and tased him and sent him to a “secure disciplinary cell” in March of 2016.

Although a judge ordered that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, Partridge remained at the jail and was again punched and tased when he ignored orders, according to the complaint. When two deputies later saw Partridge attempting to gouge out his eyes, they put him in a “restraint chair”, placed a “spit sock” over his head and tased him, the suit said.

Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago.


Ryan Partridge with his mother Shelley five years ago. Photograph: Courtesy of family

After a brief stay at a community hospital, he was sent back to jail, where he was suffering from increasingly intense paranoia.

On 1 November 2016, during a psychotic episode, Partridge attempted suicide by climbing to the top of a second-floor railing in the jail and jumping head first to the ground, smashing his head on a table and cement floor and suffering broken vertebra, the suit said. He tried to jump again from the same railing a month later before guards stopped him.

One deputy began mockingly referring to him as “Parachute Partridge”, the suit said.

Despite the suicide attempts and injuries, a mental health worker and a sergeant concluded he was “not a risk to himself and that the jump was merely an attention-seeking behavior”, his lawyers wrote.

Partridge said in an interview that spending so much time alone, unable to talk to his parents or attorneys, was deeply harmful to his mental state: “It’s just very difficult psychologically … That led to more delusional thinking.”

As his mental health deteriorated toward “severe insanity”, the jail ignored a court’s emergency order and his parents’ pleas to hospitalize him, the lawsuit said.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of literally knowing my son is being abused and tortured and I can’t do anything to stop it,” his father Richard Partridge said by phone.

He ultimately gouged his eyes out with his fingers in December, and when deputies discovered him in his cell with his eyes swollen shut and blood on his hands, they proceeded to try and handcuff him before slamming him to the ground and tasing him, the suit alleged. Eventually, he was taken to a hospital and released from jail.

Commander Mike Wagner of the Boulder sheriff’s office said the department can’t comment on pending litigation or an inmate’s health, but said some of the claims were false, adding in a statement, “We are aware of the very difficult circumstances surrounding Mr Partridge’s time in-custody at the Boulder County jail. Our mental health professionals, deputies, and staff faced very difficult situations involving Mr Partridge, and went above and beyond in trying to assist him during his time in-custody.”

Partridge’s attorney David Lane said he hoped the lawsuit sparked national reforms: “We want to send a message to jails and prisons across this country that deliberate indifference to the mental health needs of inmates will be so costly. … Tasing and beating does not count as rendering aid or assistance to someone suffering from a psychotic break.”

Richard Partridge said the public needed to understand that schizophrenia is a disability and argued that the government should not incarcerate people for mental illness: “You can take a sane person, and if you treat them inhumanely, they can take out their eyes as well.”

The former inmate is now living with his family, and he said his mental health has dramatically improved. The damage to his eyes, however, was so severe that no surgery could bring his vision back, according to doctors.

He said he is slowly adjusting to blindness: “It’s a different form of solitude. I feel alone even when I’m around people.”

Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.