I hope that America will soon move away from its practice of imprisoning its mentally ill citizens. Let us not continue to replace psychiatrists with policemen. We must not continue to substitute long-term inpatient care and mental hospital beds with cold, iron prison racks, where sick people are offered no mattresses, no cover, and often, no clothes, lest a sick prisoner hurt himself. We must not continue answering the need for compassionate care for the mentally ill with chains, mace, Taser guns, and bullets. Mental illness is not a crime; it is a handicap. As such, we must discontinue the Dark Age practice of keeping our sick people in dungeons, particularly those Americans who have diagnosed mental impairments that make it impossible for them to comprehend and abide by the laws that rule the behavior of ordinary citizens.
The large population of mentally ill prisoners in America evidences a need for confinement and enforced treatment for many disturbed citizens. A controlled environment for the seriously disturbed among us is necessary. This is a simple fact that has never changed, although some “learned” persons deny the very existence of mental illness. Unfortunately, denying the existence of an ailment does not make it disappear. Therefore, in the absence of adequate mental hospitals, jails are used to answer the need for containment of the mentally ill who are unable to live without constraint. Sadly, many of the inpatient facilities for mentally ill Americans are dangerously substandard. However, warehousing the mentally ill in jails and withholding treatment from those too sick to acknowledge their psychosis are not humane answers to the problem. My brother’s death is a worse case scenario of what happens when mentally ill persons are jailed for their irrational public behavior. Think of the thousands of mental patients who do not die while in jail like Larry, yet are forced to endure repeated arrests, often incarcerated under harsher circumstances than other inmates.
Please contact your congressional representative today and demand that hospitalization replace incarceration for the mentally ill people in your state. http://www.house.gov/writerep
Certainly, there can be little or no savings to taxpayers in classifying people as criminals rather than mental patients. Incarceration is expensive, with each prisoner costing the state a good deal of money to house, feed, clothe (the ones who are allowed to wear clothes, that is), and process through our court system. The expense of incarceration is logically even greater for mentally ill prisoners, who typically return to jail innumerable times and require special accommodations and specially trained guards. Therefore, exactly whose interest is served by our present practice of jailing rather than hospitalizing our chronically mentally ill citizens — insurance companies? Certainly, jailing policyholders with disabilities requiring continual medical and/or psychiatric care must save insurance companies a good deal of money, but how is it cheaper for the state? I only hope that in America’s zeal to have more money to appropriate for advancing democracy abroad, we never resort to the very cheapest alternative – euthanasia. Even if hospitalization is more expensive than imprisoning these unfortunate misfits, let us immediately stop arresting people for being sick. When it comes to human rights, let us rescue our own helpless and needy first and foremost.
The Cochran Firm had on its brochure in 2003 when it tricked my mother into signing contract this quote: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Luke 12:48. America has so much to spend defending human rights in foreign lands, including the lives of our young soldiers and billions of dollars. Yet, the condition of our mentally ill citizens, evidenced by Larry’s secret incarceration and jail death, rises to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. So, I answer to The Cochran Firm’s Bible quote with one of my own, and one that I feel should be applied by my government in its treatment of the mentally ill: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:40-41.
We must not allow our response to mental illness continue to be jail, commitment to substandard hospitals, homelessness, and euthanasia. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that there have been 115 suspicious deaths in Georgia’s mental hospitals within the last five years. I believe that America is better than that, and her citizens rightfully expect more for their incapacitated brethren. There are many types of brain damage, and each type renders the victim at least partially disabled and in need of a measure of care. If we do not address this problem now, what next? What will we do with our many children diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, or Downs Syndrome? What are we going to do with the soldiers who return from combat shell shocked or brain damaged due to the shock of bombs exploding near their heads? What of our elders with Alzheimer’s? Will we simply build more jails and order up more chains? Will we just starve our brain damaged citizens to death, as was done in Florida? What has happened to this “one nation under God”? See http://www.ajc.com/health/content/health/stories/hiddenshame.html.
There should be a three-day limit placed on the amount of time that persons with diagnosed mental illness can remain incarcerated while awaiting trial. America should construct or reconstruct hospitals for the speedy transfer of such detainees, where they should remain under psychiatric care until making bail, standing trial, or longer, if determined necessary by their doctors. If our great country has the money to fight for humane treatment of people in other countries, let us appropriate the necessary funds to secure humane treatment for our own citizens who are mentally disabled. If this happens, then poor Larry’s isolation, suffering, and death in jail would not be in vain. Hospitalization, not incarceration or euthanasia, is needed for those sick people who cannot function outside of a controlled environment.
STAND WITH LARRY’S FAMILY AS WE SEEK FULL DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY REGARDING HIS DEATH AND DEMAND HUMANE TREATMENT FOR OTHER MENTALLY ILL AMERICANS. SEND A LINK OF THIS WEBSITE TO PEOPLE WHO YOU FEEL CAN HELP WITH THESE ISSUES.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TODAY AND DEMAND THAT HOSPITALIZATION REPLACE INCARCERATION FOR THE MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE IN YOUR STATE. http://www.house.gov/writerep