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Videotapes Show Mentally Ill Prisoners Being Abused With Pepper Spray

SACRAMENTO (UPI) — The California corrections department said it is working to create new rules that would limit the use of pepper spray on mentally ill inmates.

The effort comes as the department faces Federal scrutiny for the practice, the Los Angeles Times said.

Videotapes, which a judge ordered to made public Wednesday, show half a dozen inmates, some crying for help, being repeatedly sprayed with the chemical irritant.

Michael Stainer, deputy director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, insisted in court Wednesday that he would like to change the pepper spray rules

The new rules would limit the amount of pepper spray guards may use, and control use of canisters of the substance meant for crowd control in a small cell, Stainer said.

Witnesses for the state have argued that the chemical in pepper spray does not cause any lasting harm, and that the videotapes only show the most extreme cases.

Psychological experts for the state said the prisoners would have no memory of the incidents.

But in 2012, the Office of the Inspector General reported a case in which an inmate died after being exposed to pepper spray, which was listed as the cause of death.

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