Contact: Dominic Slowey | 781-710-0014

Disability Law Center Finds Inadequate Access to Treatment,
Mold Contamination, and Unlawful Restraint Practices
at Bridgewater State Hospital Persist

The Disability Law Center (DLC), the Commonwealth’s Protection and Advocacy system, today released a public report regarding its monitoring efforts at Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH) and findings from the latter half of 2023. DLC issued a private, unredacted version of the report on February 29, 2024 to select government officials. The report marks ten years of intensive DLC advocacy to protect the rights of and improve care for individuals involuntarily held in BSH, a Department of Correction (DOC) facility. DLC repeats its urgent call for the Commonwealth to transfer oversight of the BSH population to the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and to construct a new psychiatric hospital.

Covering a range of topics, the report provides updates about recurring unlawful and violent BSH restraint practices, significant mold contamination, and inadequate access to appropriate medical care. In addition, for the first time, the report explores medical expert findings that Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) prescribing practices at BSH fail to comport with the medical standard of care and the troubling conditions and limited access to treatment that new admissions to BSH face.

Over the course of this monitoring period, DLC conducted weekly onsite visits, met with individuals held at BSH, met with BSH staff and administrators, reviewed extensive records, regularly corresponded with DOC and its contracted provider, Wellpath, and engaged two highly qualified experts – Gordon Mycology, an expert with 27 years of professional mold and air quality inspection experience, and Dr. Evan Gale, a dual board-certified internal medicine and addiction medicine physician who serves as the Associate Medical Director of the Addiction Consult Team and Director of Inpatient Training of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“It is clear that neither the care that DOC and Wellpath offer, nor the deteriorating prison facility meet the needs of the BSH population. DLC’s monitoring efforts reveal persistent legal violations, abuse, inadequate medical and mental health treatment, and mold contamination at BSH. Transfer of oversight to DMH is long overdue,” stated Tatum A. Pritchard, Director of Litigation of DLC. “Failure to prioritize appropriate, stabilizing care and protect individuals with mental health disabilities at BSH from compounding trauma has real consequences for those individuals, their loved ones, and the Commonwealth’s larger mental health and criminal justice systems.”

“DLC urges the Commonwealth to take action to ensure that all individuals with mental health disabilities who are involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation and treatment in our state have access to appropriate services in a therapeutic environment. This cannot be true while BSH remains open,” said Barbara L’Italien, Executive Director of DLC.


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Disability Law Center Finds Inadequate Access to Treatment, Mold Contamination, and Unlawful Restraint Practices at Bridgewater State Hospital Persist

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