KOLD Investigates: Inmate testifies ADCRR employees encouraged him to cut himself

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 10:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Week two of Jenson vs. Shinn began on Monday, Nov. 8.

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry is defending itself against allegations it is failing to provide adequate healthcare to inmates.

Dustin Brislan, 39, testified on Monday.

He is currently housed in Tucson’s Rincon Mental Health facility.

Brislan said he dropped out of school in ninth grade and has been in and out of Arizona prisons since them.

He said the ADCRR diagnosed him with mental illnesses including schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Brislan said some of those voices tell him to hurt himself and hurt others, and he deals with this by cutting himself.

Brislan testified that ADCRR staff encouraged him to cut himself, “to see how bad it could get.”

Federal Judge Roslyn Silver asked Brislan to name the staff members who encouraged this and Brislan named at least five people.

This is at least the second time an inmate has testified that employees have encouraged them to harm themselves.

When cross-examined by the State, Brislan said his recent therapists and mental healthcare have greatly improved, but he asked why it took so long to get adequate healthcare.

Brislan also testified that he feared retaliation for testifying because ADCRR staff said they would revoke his mental health programming if he did.

Plaintiff’s Attorney Corene Kendrick asked Brislan why he decided to testify despite his fears.

“I am the voice for other people who can’t defend themselves. I feel that I need to speak up for those who don’t know their rights. I feel obligated as a human to do this,” Brislan said.

The trial resumes Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

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