Restraints and seclusion used improperly at St. Peter state hospital, group alleges

Minnesota’s troubled psychiatric hospital in St. Peter continues to restrain and seclude patients in ways that violate the hospital’s own policies, according to a report released Wednesday by Legal Aid’s Minnesota Disability Law Center.

News Story (Minnesota)

Chris Serres
Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
July 30, 2015

Tags: Disability Rights, Disability: Mental Health

Organizations mentioned/involved: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC)


In a 16-month investigation, the nonprofit legal advocacy group found that staff at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter isolate patients in locked rooms, and strap them to restraint chairs, among other measures, even when patients and staff are not at risk of imminent harm. In some cases, the hospital appears to use these measures as punishment rather than emergency protection, according to the report.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), which oversees the hospital, said they have significantly reduced incidents of restraint and seclusion at the hospital since 2012. But the nonprofit law center maintained that usage still fluctuates wildly from month to month and the hospital has failed to demonstrate a “consistent downward trend” in the deployment of seclusions and restraint.