On March 6th, Irvo Otieno was killed by Henrico police officers and Central State Hospital employees during the hospital’s inpatient process. During a time of mental health distress, Otieno was met with aggression, criminality, and excessive force by officers and employees.
Before being brought to the psychiatric institution, Otieno spent 3 days in a Henrico county jail cell where he was reportedly sprayed with pepper spray and denied vital medications. On arrival at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County, VA, Otieno was restrained by handcuffs and leg shackles, going in and out of consciousness, placed on the floor of the inpatient room, and restrained by up to 9 people at a time. The force placed on Oteino’s neck, back, chest, and rest of his body resulted in asphyxiation, and ultimately his death. As of March 17th, 7 officers and 3 employees had been charged with 2nd-degree murder.
This event demonstrates the lack of compassion institutions, specifically the justice system, continue to have for people dealing with mental health issues and marginalized communities. Otieno’s family and lawyers have been advocating for change within this system, raising awareness about the lack of proper education and resources surrounding how to handle situations of distress. Additionally, the lack of compassion for marginalized groups by these institutions continues to be a prominent issue, resulting in unequal consequences and cyclical disadvantages.
Rural hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open due to the tightening of abortion laws. Bonner General Health in Sandpoint Idaho has made the tough decision to no longer offer labor and delivery services, effective immediately. Within the state, abortions are completely prohibited, except in specific situations. This is due to the criminalization of doctors and physicians in 13 states who can relieve felony charges, fines, and lose their license for performing abortions. The current “political climate” has caused more than 10,000 female residents in the area to travel almost 50 miles to receive the necessary pregnancy care. Unfortunately, BGH is not the first hospital to experience this issue. In the past few years, more than 100 hospitals have closed due to staffing issues. With a particular rise in recent years in states like Kentucky and Mississippi, who practice abortion trigger laws. As a result, women in rural areas are struggling to find the necessary care when needing an abortion, are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant. Leading to suppression of women’s vital health care needs.
Since troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban have taken over 23 of the 24 provinces. Although the country is on the rise economically, the people, particularly women, are suffering under the rule of the Taliban. Women are being confined to their homes and are losing their rights to education and free speech. Unemployment rates are up and people who are able to leave are fleeing the country. There is also a rise in violence in the country with men rising in ranks through their connections and their fighting and combat skills. The large amount of violence will likely attract other countries to take advantage and pay the Taliban for their talent, which will bring even more violence to and from the country.