Tammy : sharing my experience in the open unit of a institution for youth, under the Juvenile Delinquent System.
I“But it’s no use now,” thought poor Alice, “to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!” —Chapter 1, Down the Rabbit-Hole
When I was finally transferred to the open unit things got really bizarre! For the first couple of months I was heavily supervised and not allowed to go out side with out a worker with me. so it was still kinda like lock down, just more girls. I think they could hold up to 24 girls on that unit, and we shared rooms. I had a roommate, and I thought she was a, well we didn’t really get along, but I tolerated her.
It is odd to me to be on all this medication, because I do not really recall meeting with a psychiatrist while I was in lock up. However, I was so drugged up, sometimes it was hard to remember anything at all. Being in the open unit , did give me more freedom, I was able to go to the school rooms on the main floor, with out a staff member accompanying me. during class I would either write in my journal, which was pretty much all I ever did, or I would sleep due to the drugs conking me out. The Teachers never bothered me. As long as I was quiet they left me alone. Sometimes I would attempt to do the work, but my mind was so heavily drugged it was really hard to comprehend what I was supposed to do with all the X’s and Y’s. I preferred to just sit quietly and write, or sleep.
I also, started going to appointments on the out side to see a psychiatrist named Dr. Maurice Blackman. I remember going into his office and they had a large observation room, and the kids in that room were absolutely bonkers. I recognized one of my old classmates from HillCrest, and when I talked to her she was just crazy, I was shocked! What happened to her, she used to be so calm and fun. Now she was bonkers. My Dr. Blackman started me on a new regime of drugs, and things went to hell in a hand basket. I would have to go to his office twice a week to get a needle in my hip, have no idea what it was, on top of the daily doses of pills I was on.
I started to hear people talk to me that were not there, and see shadows and things that were not people. Scared the heck out of me. I also, started to act out aggressively! I was not happy in this open unit surrounded by all these people! I never picked on the smaller kids, I always picked fights with the biggest girls and the biggest boys as being in open unit it was more co ed. No one ever met my challenges they always backed down.It was the drugs, that was not my nature at all. My case worker would discuss me with other staff and some times the girls would over hear her and report back to me.
I was thrown in to solitary almost weekly, stripped naked and put in a cell with nothing in it but a flat mattress. I spent a lot of time in solitaire, at the time I was locked up there was no set limit in how long you could be kept in solitary, you could be kept in there indefinitely if they wanted.The worst part about going into solitary was I resisted vehemently, and I was really strong, like crazy strong, I think the drugs had a lot to do with it. Typically three to four big burly men from the boy’s unit would come help the female staff put me into solitary. It was no easy feat, if they sat on me I just bucked them off, if they grabbed me I would swing them into a wall. For such a little girl I was scarily strong, and had no censorship what so ever, the drugs took away all inhibitions, I had absolutely zero fear and zero remorse. This was nothing like I was before I came here, my sister can attest to that. I think if my sister Tyra was able to visit me, she would not recognize the person looking back. Not because of how I looked but because of how I acted. I was no longer me
Dr. Maurice Blackman:
Dr. Blackman has been practicing for over 40 years.
CPSA Physician Details
Dr. Blackman was trained in Dublin Ireland at Trinity College and came to Canada after postgraduate training in Psychiatry in 1973. Initially he was employed as a Consultant Psychiatrist involved in youth and family care. Dr. Blackman then moved to the University of Alberta where he undertook the teaching of medical students and psychiatric residents, reaching the advancement to Clinical Professor of the University of Alberta. He also continued to consult with Alberta Health Services and developed a number of programs for severely dysfunctional youth and families.
KMedicine Hat News (Newspaper) – April 6, 1993, Medicine Hat, Alberta WestManagers gone EDMONTON (CP) — Two senior managers are no longer working at an Edmonton psychiatric facility for disturbed adolescents that was investigated last year for its treatment techniques. Both Dr. Maurice Blackman, the child psychiatrist who served as program director at CASA House, and nurse-manager Karen Pentelchuk have left the program, confirmed CASA president Margaret Shone. Shone also confirmed a consulting psychologist at the centre has been suspended for a week. Blackman resigned at the beginning of February for health reasons, Shone said, and Pentelchuk’s position was axed in a management reorganization
It is unbelievable to me that he practiced on youth for so many years, and even after YDC was shut down, he went to CASA house and continued, his practices there. He then resigned? How many often do we hear of people in positions of authority or power turning in their resignation , when things start getting uncomfortable for them.
The following are quotes from actual patients, and parents of patients of Dr.Blackman:
“THIS THING traumatized me so bad that I STILL have nightmares of the “care” that his GOONS gave to kids WAY back in the 1980’s. I remember telling him that the meds were CAUSING me to hallucinate. His response was “45 days solitary confinement. For talking out of turn and not asking with raised hand.” IT WAS A 1 ON 1 MEETING!!!! I was 10 years old. I TRIED to commit suicide 45 times while in his Care”
“My daughter saw this Dr years ago.. experience was traumatic. Sent her to the children’s mental heath at the Royal Alex after overdosing her on her adhd meds. She was seeing hair growing out of her finger tips. 9 year old on such a cocktail of meds.”
“This man nearly destroyed my 15 year old daughter when he ran CASA house. His method was to used candy to reward “acceptable” behavior or to put my child in a straight jacket and lock her in a padded cell for many, many hours at a time for unacceptable behavior.”
“I am starting a malpractice suit against this evil man. He must be stopped. Was a abused traumatized child but wouldn’t recognize my abuse instead accused me of drug use and threatened me to keep me locked up or incarcerated until I was 16 if I didn’t admit to the drug use. I was 13 and was very anti drug at the time and had never even been around it. While I was there I was lock in solitary confinement for 12 days, was stripped nude of clothing by two abusive nurses. I know their names and addresses. I compare him to Joseph Mangula using children as experiments.”
These are quotes from parents and actual patients he treated years ago. If you would like to read the full quotes, and more quotes I will post the link here:
How this man was able to experiment and practice on trouble youth is beyond my understanding. Those dysfunctional youth they talk about were traumatized, abused children, calling out for help the only way they knew how, and in my opinion just continued to be a victim to those in authority over them.
Somehow I rallied and when I went to see this awful Dr. And I use the term lightly, I yelled at him, I am not going to come see you any more! He just calmly looked at me and said “you have no choice…” I was just a kid, stripped of rights, identity, dignity, and truth. I vowed to myself that enough was enough. Although, I still took my medication, I firmly believe I was a prescription addict, by this time. I acted out so violently and for hours at a time, any time I had an appointment to see this man, that I would be thrown into solitary. I never saw him again and the needless in the hip ceased. A victory for me, although it cost me dearly.
I am going to stop here, and do a continuation. please feel free to carry on reading if you wish, or stop here, but please do come back, there is more to share.