Lawyers question prison psychiatrist in mental health case

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Attorneys representing Alabama prison officials have questioned the findings of the chief psychiatrist of the Ohio prison system, who concluded that Alabama fails to spot mental illness in many inmates and lacks the staff to effectively treat those who are diagnosed. ( ) reports that the Department of Corrections disputes the findings of Dr. Kathryn Burns, who testified Monday as an expert witness on behalf of inmates who have accused the state of failing to provide them with adequate mental health care.

During cross-examination, lawyers for the DOC questioned Burns about the depth of research she did to reach her findings.

Burns’ report says she visited nine of Alabama’s 16 prisons and interviewed 77 inmates. Burns says that is an adequate sample size to reach conclusions about the prison system.