John Forrester, a prisoner at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington state succeeded in castrating himself with a shaving razor this week. It was the second attempt by the man and only the latest case of self-mutilation by prisoners.
Penile amputations and mutilations are a constant problem within the prison system, often by prisoners who are found sane under the current high standards for insanity. For a prior such case, click here.
These cases often raise serious questions about our current standards for insanity that exclude many of the most serious cases of mental illness. For a prior column, click here.
There has always been a high number of prisoners with mental health problems in our system. However, the increased use of super max facilities and segregation often magnifies these numbers as well as the acute conditions brought by overcrowding. In Forester’s case, he was eventually placed in a unit with mental health capabilities.
Forester was convicted on July 1, 1977, for aggravated first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.