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The Dark Core of Personality

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Scott Barry Kaufman writes in Scientific American:

Over 100 years ago Charles Spearman made two monumental discoveries about human intelligence. First, a general factor of intelligence (g) exists: people who score high on one test of intelligence also tend to score high on other tests of intelligence. Second, Spearman found that the g-factor conforms to the principle of the “indifference of the indicator”: It doesn’t matter what test of intelligence you administer; as long as the intelligence test is sufficiently cognitively complex and has enough items, you can reliably and validly measure a person’s general cognitive ability.

Fast forward to 2018, and a hot-off-the-press paper suggests that the very same principle may not only apply to human cognitive abilities, but also to human malevolence. New research conducted by a team from Germany and Denmark suggests that a General Dark Factor of Personality (D-factor) exists among the human population, and that this factor conforms to the principle of indifference of the indicator. This is big news, so let’s take a look.

The Proposed D-Factor

We all know people who consistently display ethically, morally, and socially questionable behavior in everyday life. Personality psychologists refer to these characteristics among a subclinical population as “dark traits.” An understanding of dark traits has become increasingly popular not only in psychology, but also in criminology and behavioral economics.

Even though psychologists have studied various dark traits, it has become increasingly clear that these dark traits are related to each other. This raises the question: Is there a unifying theme among dark traits?

Morten Moshagen and his colleagues proposed that a D-factor exists, which they define as the basic tendency to maximize one’s own utility at the expense of others, accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications for one’s malevolent behaviors. In their definition, utility refers to goal achievement. For those scoring high on the D-factor, utility maximization is sought despite running contrary to the interests of others or even for the sake of bringing about negative outcomes in others.

Utility in this definition does not refer to utility maximization that is irrelevant of the effect on others—such engaging in sports to improve one’s health, engaging in consensual sex, or recreational activities. Also, it should be noted that those scoring high on the D-factor aren’t always uncooperative, as they can be very strategic in choosing when to cooperate. Their key prediction is that those scoring high on the D-factor will not be motivated to increase the utility of others (helping others in need) without benefiting themselves, and will not derive utility for themselves from the utility of others (eg, being happy for the success of others).

The researchers acknowledge that the D-factor can be manifested in a large number of ethically, morally and socially questionable attitudes and behaviors. However, they propose that any single dark trait will boil down to at least one of the defining features of the D-factor. For instance, those scoring high on narcissism might be particularly justifying of the belief that they are superior, whereas those scoring high in sadism may place a stronger emphasis on deriving utility from actively provoking disutilities for others. Nevertheless, they argue that any single dark trait will be related to at least one (and typically several) of the defining aspects of the D-factor; ie, there is a substantial common core underlying individual differences on all measures of dark traits.

Again, the g-factor analogy is apt: while there are some differences between verbal intelligence, visuospatial intelligence, and perceptual intelligence (ie, people can differ in their pattern of cognitive ability profiles), those who score high on one form of intelligence will also tend to statistically score high on other forms of intelligence.

So what did they actually find?

The Actual D-Factor

Across four studies, the researchers found support for the existence of their proposed D-factor. To capture a reasonable D-factor, they administered nine different tests measuring a particular dark trait that has been well studied in the psychological literature. These are the nine traits that comprised their D-factor:

  1. Egoism. The excessive concern with one’s own pleasure or advantage at the expense of community well-being.
  2. Machiavellianism. Manipulativeness, callous affect and strategic-calculating orientation.
  3. Moral Disengagement. A generalized cognitive orientation to the world that differentiates individuals’ thinking in a way that powerfully affects unethical behavior.
  4. Narcissism. An all-consuming motive for ego reinforcement.
  5. Psychological Entitlement. A stable and pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others.
  6. Psychopathy. Deficits in affect, callousness, self-control and impulsivity.
  7. Sadism. Intentionally inflicting physical, sexual or psychological pain or suffering on others in order to assert power and dominance or for pleasure and enjoyment.
  8. Self-Interest. The pursuit of gains in socially valued domains, including material goods, social status, recognition, academic or occupational achievement and happiness.
  9. Spitefulness. A preference that would harm another but that would also entail harm to oneself. This harm could be social, financial, physical or an inconvenience.

Here is a summary of their main findings:

  • First, they found that all of the dark traits were substantially positively related to each other (what Spearman referred to as a “positive manifold“)—although some traits were more strongly correlated with each other than others. The strongest correlations were found among measures of Egoism, Machiavellianism, Moral Disengagement, Psychopathy, Sadism and Spitefulness.
  • Second, the pattern of items that were most strongly related to the D-factor related to aspects of their theoretical model: utility maximization (“I’ll say anything to get what I want”), inflicting disutility on others (“There have been times when I was willing to suffer some small harm so that I could punish someone else who deserved it”), and justifying malevolent beliefs (“I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than others”).
  • Third, they found that those scoring high on the D-factor were more likely to keep money for themselves when given the opportunity, and were more likely to display unethical behavior (cheating to maximize one’s gain).
  • Fourth, the D-factor was related to a number of outcomes you would expect, including positive associations with self-centeredness, dominance, impulsivity, insensitivity, power, aggression and negative associations with nurturance, internalized moral identity, perspective taking, sincerity, fairness, greed avoidance and modesty.
  • Fifth, they found support for Spearman’s principle of the indifference of the indicator. The D-factor captured the dark core of many different dark traits without crucially relying on any one measure. In fact, they found that even after omitting 50 percent of the items at random, and repeating this process 1,000 times, still resulted in extremely high correlations among all of the D-factors (> r=.93).

What’s Your Dark Core Score?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably eager to see whether you score high on the D-factor. This nine-item test should be sufficient to estimate to a reasonable degree where you would score on the D-factor. The more you are in strong agreement with multiple items on this scale, the higher the likelihood you would score high on the D-factor. If you are in strong agreement with just one item on this scale, I wouldn’t be so confident that you would score high on the D-factor. However, if you are in extremely strong agreement on many of these items, there’s a high likelihood that you would indeed score high on the D-factor (ie, you’re a humongous asshole, objectively measured):

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Written by LeisureGuy

11 October 2018 at 10:45 am

My knee pain explained

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I am just back from a visit to a physiotherapist. I explained that I had been walking since the beginning of July, initially just regular walking but Nordic walking after the first week or so, and with daily step goals set first at 2000 steps, then at 5000 steps, and currently 8000 steps—working up gradually.

Day before yesterday I had done a 63-minute walk at a brisk pace (covering 3.8 miles), and then yesterday I awoke at 3:00am with terrific pain in left knee and not able even to turn over in bed without it hurting badly. I never got back to sleep and it hurt all morning. I finally took a couple of Advil, and eventually it calmed down, but still I had to be very careful and that knee didn’t support my weight well.

The first question the physiotherapist asked was, “Did your twist your foot or turn your ankle on the walk?” And in fact I had: I had twisted my foot strongly, but then it seemed to be okay. She explained (after pushing here and there on my knee and finding out the locus of the soreness and observing the slight swelling) that I had scratched the edge of the inside meniscus in the red zone: a meniscus-tear injury—a common injury.

So she recommended a set of 4 exercises, cold packs 3-4 times a day, and exercises that move the knee without putting weight on it: a cycling machine, swimming, and the like. Plain (not Noridc) walking in a week, but on flat surfaces (no hills) and at a moderate pace. Full recovery will be in 4-6 weeks, so by the end of November I should be good to resume vigorous Nordic walking.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 October 2018 at 10:21 am

Where Americans are shaped by propaganda efficiently delivered

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It could not be this slick and efficient were it not planned [Argument from Design]. Kevid Drum posts in Mother Jones:

I was talking to a friend yesterday and the subject turned to politics. He thought the Republican tax cut was a great idea because America had the highest tax rate in the world and we couldn’t compete with other countries. I laughed and told him that was totally wrong. Then he said that Trump might not be the greatest president ever, but at least he’s kept all his promises. I laughed again and told him Trump hadn’t even come close. Then the conversation turned to Brett Kavanaugh, and he complained that Sen. Dianne Feinstein had deliberately held onto Christine Blasey Ford’s letter until the very last second before releasing it. I laughed again and said that was exactly the opposite of what happened. Feinstein did her best never to release it, but it got leaked by someone outside her office.

There were a couple of other things he was wrong about, and eventually he said, “Well, look, if this stuff is wrong then how come Democrats aren’t correcting it?” I mumbled some stuff about Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and asked him where he was getting his information. The answer, it turned out, was mostly the Sunday chat shows.

So if this anecdotal conversation is to be believed, conservatives are highly successful at pushing their talking points on the Sunday morning shows—which are mostly watched by moderate political types—but liberals either don’t push back or don’t do it in a way that’s very memorable. Or else liberals just don’t bother showing up. Since I never watch the Sunday shows, I don’t really know which it is. Comments?

Naturally Democrts and progressives don’t appear so much: they not invited so much. They would introduce turbulence into the information flow, and TPTB want that information to flow smoothly into the meme-set of the majority. Democrats and progressives are not creating effective memes.

Update: And in the intercept: “Facebook Quietly Hid Webpages Bragging of Ability to Influence Elections.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 October 2018 at 1:40 pm

A New Study Shows How Mushrooms Could Save Bees. (Yes, Mushrooms.)

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Jackie Flynn Mogensen writes in Mother Jones:

e stuff of science fiction. Back in 2006, beekeepers first noticed their honeybees were mysteriously dying off in huge numbers, with no clear cause. For some, a whopping 30 to 90 percent of their colonies were disappearing, especially on the East Coast. Worker bees were abandoning their queens and leaving hives full of honey. That first winter, beekeepers nationwide lost about a third of their colonies. Since then, the numbers haven’t improved.

Researchers now call this ongoing phenomenon “colony collapse disorder,” but scientists still haven’t identified a singular cause. They say it’s a combination of factors: pollution, habitat loss, herbicides, and viruses, though some experts believe viruses may be the primary driver. For instance, “deformed wing virus,” which causes bees to develop disfigured, nonfunctional wings, can be nasty, and, like other viruses, is transferred to bees by parasitic mites. Until now, scientists haven’t developed any antiviral treatments to protect the bees.

But in a landmark study published Thursday in Nature journal Scientific Reports, researchers revealed they’ve discovered the first-ever “vaccine” for bees, procured from an unexpected source: mushrooms. Specifically, it’s mycelia—cobweb-like fungal membranes found in and on soil—from two species, “tinder fungus” and Red Reishi mushrooms.

“Up until this discovery, there were no antivirals reducing viruses in bees,” Paul Stamets, the lead author on the study, tells Mother Jones. “Not only is this the first discovery, but these extracts are incredibly potent.” Stamets is a Washington-based mycologist and author whose work includes books Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The WorldGrowing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. Stamets also holds patents “pertaining to the use of fungal extracts for antiviral activity and honeybee health,” according to the study.

This giant discovery actually has very humble origins. Decades before colony collapse hit the United States, Stamets says he had noticed bees in his own yard feeding off water droplets on the mushrooms that were growing on wood chips in his garden. They had pushed the wood chips aside to expose the mycelium. At the time, he thought they might be getting sugars from the fungi, and it wasn’t until about five years ago—after researching the antiviral properties of fungi for humans—that he made the connection to viruses affecting bees. “I had this waking dream, ‘I think I can save the bees,’” he says.

In collaboration with researchers from Washington State University, Stamets decided to conduct a two-part study to test his theory that fungi could treat the viruses in honeybees. First, in a controlled, caged experiment, he and his team added small amounts of mushroom extract, or “mycelial broth,” to the bees’ food (sugar water) at varying concentrations and measured how it affected their health. Then, they tested the best-performing extracts in the field.

The extracts worked better than Stamets ever imagined.

The team measured the virus levels in 50 bees from 30 different field colonies and found the bee colonies that consumed the mycelium extracts saw up to a 79-fold decrease in deformed wing virus after 12 days and up to a 45,000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus (another virus linked to colony collapse) compared to the bees that only ate sugar water.

“We went out of the laboratory, into the field—real-life field tests,” says Stamets. “And we saw enormous benefit to the bees.”

So what’s going on here? Stamets says the operating hypothesis is this: “These aren’t really antiviral drugs. We think they are supporting the immune system to allow natural immunity to be strong enough to reduce the viruses.” More research, he says, is needed to fully understand how the fungi are working.

Diana Cox-Foster, a research leader and entomologist at the USDA’s Pollinating Insects Research Unit in Utah who was not involved in the study, tells Mother Jones the research looked “promising” and adds that it could have ramifications for other pollinators, like bumblebees. “These viruses are widely shared,” she says. “If we could knock down viruses in honeybee colonies, it could lead to greater health in other pollinators.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2018 at 11:14 am

Doctors are surprisingly bad at reading lab results. It’s putting us all at risk.

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Daniel Morgan writes in the Washington Post:

The man was 66 when he came to the hospital with a serious skin infection. He had a fever and low blood pressure, as well as a headache. His doctors gave him a brain scan just to be safe. They found a very small bulge in one of his cranial arteries, which probably had nothing to do with his headache or the infection. Nevertheless, doctors ordered an angiogram to get images of brain blood vessels. This test, in which doctors insert a plastic tube into a patient’s arteries and inject dye, found no evidence of any blood vessel problems. But the dye injection caused multiple strokes, leading to permanent issues with the man’s speech and memory.

That case, recounted in JAMA Internal Medicine three years ago, is no surprise. As a doctor in a large urban hospital, I know how much modern medicine has come to rely on tests and scans. I review about 10 cases per day and order and interpret more than 150 tests for patients. Every year, doctors in this country order more than 4 billion tests in total. They’ve gotten more sophisticated and easier to execute as technology has advanced, and they’re essential to helping doctors understand what might be wrong with their patients.

But my research has found that many physicians misunderstand test results or think tests are more accurate than they are. Doctors especially fail to grasp how false positives work, which means they make crucial medical decisions — sometimes life-or-death calls — based on incorrect assumptions that patients have ailments that they probably don’t. When we do this without understanding the science of risk and probability, we unacceptably increase the chances of making the wrong choice. In the worst cases, as with the man whose angiogram caused otherwise avoidable strokes, we increase the odds of unnecessarily putting patients in danger.

The first problem that doctors (and thus, patients) face is a basic misunderstanding of probability. Say that Disease X has a prevalence of 1 in 1,000 (meaning that 1 out of every 1,000 people will have it), and the test to detect it has a false-positive rate of 5 percent (meaning 5 of every 100 subjects test positive for the ailment even though they don’t really have it). If a patient’s test result comes back positive, what are the chances that she actually has the disease? In a 2014 study, researchers found that almost half of doctors surveyed said patients who tested positive had a 95 percent chance of having Disease X.

This is radically, catastrophically wrong. In fact, it’s not even close to right. Imagine 1,000 people, all with the same chance of having Disease X. We already know that just one of them has the disease. But a 5 percent false-positive rate means that 50 of the remaining 999 would test positive for it nonetheless. That means 51 people would have positive results, but only one of those would really have the illness. So if your test comes back positive, your true chance of having the disease is actually 1 out of 51, or 2 percent — a heck of a lot lower than 95 percent.

A 5 percent false-positive rate is typical of many common tests. The primary blood test to check for a heart attack, known as high-sensitivity troponin, has a 5 percent false-positive rate, for instance. U.S. emergency rooms often administer the test to people with a very low probability of a heart attack; as a result, 84 percent of positive results are false, according to a study published last year. These false-positive troponin tests often lead to stress tests, observation visits with expensive co-pays and sometimes invasive cardiac angiograms.

In one study, gynecologists estimated that a woman whose mammogram was positive had a higher than 80 percent chance of having breast cancer; the reality is that her chance is less than 10 percent. Of course, women who have a positive mammogram often undergo other tests, such as an MRI and a biopsy, which can offer more precision about the presence of cancer. But researchers have found that even after the battery of exams, about 5 of every 1,000 women will have a false-positive result and will be told they have breast cancer when they do not.

The confusion has serious consequences. These women are likely to receive unnecessary treatment — generally some combination of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, all of which have serious side effects and are stressful and expensive. Switzerland and France, grasping this problem, are halting and reconsidering their mammogram programs. In Switzerland, they’re not screening ahead of time, preferring to manage cases of breast cancer as they’re diagnosed. In France, doctors are letting women decide for themselves whether to have the tests.

Studies have found that doctors make similar errors with other tests, including those for prostate and lung cancer, heart attack, asthma and Lyme disease. Of course, no test is perfect, and even very careful, statistically sophisticated doctors can sometimes make mistakes. That’s not the problem.

Too many of my colleagues do not understand that many of the tests they rely on are deeply fallible. In a study I published last year with several colleagues, we reviewed the treatment of 177 patients who were admitted to hospitals with a wide range of problems, from broken bones to severe intestinal pain, to see how necessary their tests were, as judged by the latest medical guidelines. We found that nearly 90 percent of the patients received at least one unnecessary test and that, overall, nearly one-third of all the tests were superfluous. Clearly, when patients receive tests that aren’t needed, there is a reasonable chance that doctors are using the results to make choices about treatment; by definition, these choices have a higher danger of being flawed.

In another paper, from 2016, my colleagues and I interviewed more than 100 doctors to gauge their understanding of the risks and benefits of 10 common medical tests or treatments. We found that nearly 80 percent of our subjects overestimated the benefits. Strangely, the doctors themselves acknowledged this, with two-thirds rating themselves as not confident in their understanding of tests and probability. Eight out of 10 said they rarely, if ever, talked to patients about the probability of test results being accurate.

I have to admit that I, too, sometimes fall prey to overvaluing test results regardless of their probability. Last year, I saw a patient who had problems breathing. His symptoms were typical of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but a test for a blood clot in the lung came back positive. This test has a relatively high false-positive rate, but we still started the patient on a blood thinner, which can treat clots but also has serious risks, such as internal bleeding. Within a few days, another test confirmed that he did not have a blood clot, so we discontinued the anticoagulant, which caused no permanent harm. But things could have gone much worse.

Basic misunderstandings about how tests work and how accurate they are contribute to a bigger problem. Although precise numbers are hard to come by, every year, many thousands of patients are diagnosed with diseases that they don’t have. They receive treatments they don’t need, treatments that may have harmful side effects. Perhaps just as important, they and those around them often experience enormous stress from these incorrect diagnoses. Treating nonexistent diseases is wasteful and often expensive, not only for patients but for hospitals, insurance companies and governments.

Doctors also tend to overuse some tests. In a paper last year, my colleagues and I highlighted some key examples: One was computed tomography (CT), a high-tech scanning technology that is increasingly used in patients with nonspecific respiratory symptoms. In cases with only mild respiratory problems, the test does not improve patient outcomes, and it can lead to false positives. Often the test shows small lung nodules that can lead doctors to follow up with a high-risk surgical biopsy for cancer — which is very unlikely to be the cause of the symptoms. The scan also exposes patients to radiation, which is a risk in itself; studies have found that between 1.5 and 2 percent of all cancers in the United States are caused by radiation from CT scans.

To be fair, it is not surprising that doctors tend to overestimate the precision and accuracy of medical tests. The companies that provide tests work hard to promote their products. Doctors often think that ordering more tests will protect from lawsuits. Moreover, medical schools offer limited instruction on how to understand test results, which means many doctors are not equipped to do this well. Even when medical students have short classroom instruction in test interpretation, it is rarely taught in a clinic with actual patients.

There is no simple solution. One key step is . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2018 at 2:11 pm

Psychotherapy is not harmless: on the side effects of CBT

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Christian Jarrett, a cognitive neuroscientist turned science writer, writes in Aeon:

The structured nature of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and its clearly defined principles (based on the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviours) make it relatively easy to train practitioners, ensure standardised delivery and measure outcomes. Consequently, CBT has revolutionised mental-health care, allowing psychologists to alchemise therapy from an art into a science. For many mental-health conditions, there is now considerable evidence that CBT is as, or more, effective than drug treatments. Yet, just like any form of psychotherapy, CBT is not without the risk of unwanted adverse effects.

A recent paper in Cognitive Therapy and Research outlines the nature and prevalence of these unwanted effects, based on structured interviews with 100 CBT-trained psychotherapists. ‘This is what therapists should know about when informing their patients about the upcoming merits and risks of treatment,’ write Marie-Luise Schermuly-Haupt of the Charité University of Medicine in Berlin and her colleagues.

The researchers asked each CBT therapist (78 per cent of whom were female, average age 32, with an average of five years’ experience) to recall their most recent client who had taken part in at least 10 sessions of CBT. The chosen clients mostly had diagnoses of depression, anxiety or personality disorder, in the mild to moderate range.

The interviewer – an experienced clinical psychologist trained in CBT – followed the checklist of unwanted events and adverse treatment outcomes, asking each therapist whether the client had experienced any of 17 possible unwanted effects from therapy, such as deterioration, new symptoms, distress, strains in family relations or stigma.

The therapists reported an average of 3.7 unwanted events per client. Based on the therapists’ descriptions, the interviewer then rated the likelihood of each unwanted event being directly attributable to the therapeutic process – making it a true side effect (only those rated as ‘definitely related to treatment’ were categorised as such).

Following this process, the researchers estimated that 43 per cent of clients had experienced at least one unwanted side effect from CBT, equating to an average of 0.57 per client (one client had four, the maximum allowed by the research methodology): most often distress, deterioration and strains in family relations. More than 40 per cent of side effects were rated as severe or very severe, and more than a quarter lasted weeks or months, though the majority were mild or moderate and transient. ‘Psychotherapy is not harmless,’ the researchers said. There was no evidence that any of the side effects were due to unethical practice.

Examples of severe side effects included: ‘suicidality, breakups, negative feedback from family members, withdrawal from relatives, feelings of shame and guilt, or intensive crying and emotional disturbance during sessions’.

Such effects are not so surprising when you consider that CBT can involve exposure therapy (ie, gradual exposure to situations that provoke anxiety); discussing and focusing on one’s problems; reflecting on the sources of one’s stress, such as difficult relationships; frustration at lack of progress; and feelings of growing dependency on a therapist’s support.

The longer that a client had been in therapy, the more likely she was to have experienced one or more side effects. Also, and against expectations, clients with milder symptoms were more likely to experience side effects, perhaps because more serious symptoms mask such effects.

Interestingly, before the structured interviews, the therapists were asked to say, off the top of their heads, whether they felt that their client had had any unwanted effects – in this case, 74 per cent said they had not. Often it was only when prompted to think through the different examples of potential side effects that therapists became aware of their prevalence. This chimes with earlier research that’s documented the biases which can lead therapists to believe that therapy has been successful when it hasn’t.

Schermuly-Haupt and her colleagues said a conundrum raised by their findings was whether unpleasant reactions that might be an unavoidable aspect of the therapeutic process should be considered side effects. ‘We argue that they are side effects although they may be unavoidable, justified, or even needed and intended,’ they said. ‘If there were an equally effective treatment that did not promote anxiety in the patient, the present form of exposure treatment would become unethical as it is a burden to the patient.’

There are reasons to treat the new findings with caution: the results depended on the therapists’ recall (an in-the-moment or diary-based methodology could overcome this problem), and about half the clients were also on psychoactive medication, so it’s possible that some adverse effects could be attributable to the drugs rather than the therapy (even though this was not the interviewer’s judgment). At the same time, though, remember that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2018 at 9:22 am

Nooses in cells, rotting teeth — report details harsh conditions at Adelanto immigration facility

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The US is a cold-hearted nation. Brittany Mejia and Paloma Esquivel report in the LA Times:

Federal inspectors have issued a scathing report on conditions at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, which houses more than 1,000 immigrant detainees in the high desert, after officials found nooses made of bed sheets in cells, improper use of disciplinary segregation and inadequate medical care during an unannounced visit to the facility earlier this year.

The report comes one year after immigrant advocates raised alarms about conditions at the facility after three detainees died there in a three-month period in 2017. One of them, Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, 32, of Nicaragua, died six days after he was found hanging from bed sheets in his cell.

The Los Angeles Times reported in August 2017 that there were at least five attempted suicides at the facility, according to a review of 911 calls.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, which is tasked with providing independent oversight of DHS, issued the alert late last month, saying the problems officials found during their visit in May “pose significant health and safety risks at the facility” and are in need of immediate attention.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But the report notes that ICE agreed with a recommendation to conduct a full review of the facility and its management by the GEO Group, which owns and operates the facility.

During their May visit, inspectors found braided bed sheets, referred to as “nooses” by staff and detainees, hanging from vents in about 15 of 20 male detainee cells.

“When we asked two contract guards who oversaw the housing units why they did not remove the bed sheets, they echoed it was not a high priority,” the report says. ICE’s “lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety.”

The report notes that in the months after Gonzalez’ suicide, ICE compliance reports documented at least three suicide attempts by hanging at Adelanto, two of which specifically used bed sheets.

One detainee told inspectors that he had seen “a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents.”

“The guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical,” the detainee told officials.

The report also notes that some detainees reported waiting “weeks and months” to see a doctor and said that appointments were canceled without explanation, with detainees placed back on the waiting list.

From November 2017 to April 2018, detainees filed 80 medical grievances with the facility for not receiving urgent care, not being seen for months for persistent health conditions and not receiving prescribed medication, according to the report.

The report notes that ICE’s own death reviews for three Adelanto detainees who died since 2015 also cited medical care deficiencies related to providing necessary and adequate care in a timely manner.

“ICE must take these continuing violations seriously and address them immediately,” the report states.

The report also highlights serious problems with dental care at the facility, saying detainees are placed on waitlists for months and, sometimes, years to receive basic care, “resulting in tooth loss and unnecessary extractions in some cases.”

No detainees have received fillings in the last four years, according to the report. One detainee reported multiple teeth falling out while waiting more than two years for cavities to be filled.

One dentist at the facility said he did not have time to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2018 at 4:32 pm

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