Mark Fonda Must Go to Court
Craig R. Bayer
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Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center patient punished for exercising his free speech
Two editions ago, Mark Fonda, a psychiatric patient at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, New York, reached out to City Voices to protest the hospital’s alleged abuse, neglect and warehousing of its patients.
He told us that he, himself, was being warehoused and that one of his fellow patients, Joe Robb, had been physically assaulted by a staff aide as a result of involvement in a gambling ring in which both patients and certain staff had participated.
Since turning to City Voices for justice, Fonda, himself, has been threatened and assaulted, not by staff, but by patients who did not want the gambling ring exposed.
Mark Fonda, a patient at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, New York for almost eight years, has complained that the hospital warehouses patients (including himself), facilitates gambling and loan-sharking, and outright neglects and abuses its patients. He has apparently risked his life exposing to New York City Voices injustices at Mid-Hudson—he has reportedly been threatened by one patient and attacked by another—and for that he has allegedly been told by the hospital administration that he will have to fight it out in court to ever be released from there; they will not voluntarily transfer him to a civilian psychiatric facility. He is ostensibly being punished for exercising his free speech, not for any violations of the law or even the facility’s own rules.
Yet Fonda continues to share information with City Voices like the plight of his fellow patient Joe Robb who was allegedly kicked in the genitals by a therapeutic aide, and after a long period of waiting, is being tested to see if he’s still capable of having children. Or his fellow patient Vidur Beharry, a witness to Robb’s assault, who allegedly complained of having pains in the throat, was supposedly dismissed as a hypochondriac and medicated for acting up about it, only to die of throat cancer (his family is apparently planning to sue Mid-Hudson for malpractice and violation of Beharry’s constitutional rights).
In the meantime, Mr. Fonda is under tight security. His eye, which another patient attempted to gouge out in retaliation for Fonda’s activity with City Voices, has almost completely healed.
In order to ease concerns that Mr. Fonda may not be a credible witness, City Voices requested Mr. Fonda to provide a picture of his injured eye and to grant us access to his psychiatric file. Fonda agreed to do both , but he has encountered problems, claiming that the hospital is “stonewalling” his requests. The hospital supposedly claims that access to its photograph of Fonda’s injured eye and his psychiatric file must be approved by administrators in Albany.
Fonda has continuously reminded City Voices that its reporting of his difficult and dangerous situation has lifted the spirits of both patients and even some staff at Mid-Hudson (one staff member wants to subscribe to City Voices), a place which seems to care little about giving hope to psychiatric patients or their families.
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