NOTHING that is done to address mental illness outside of prison will work without instituting Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs (AOTs). These programs combine subsistence assistance with MANDATORY psychiatric treatment. That is why mentally ill offenders who are taken through mental health court only experienced a 20 to 25% rate of improvement. Although any decrease in imprisonment among the country's most vulnerable citizens is valuable to the mentally ill, their families, and taxpayers, the rate of improvement could easily and inexpensively triple under AOTs.
Mentally ill people who exit hospitals and jails usually stop taking their meds and keeping psychiatric appointments very quickly due to a condition that makes it impossible for them to know that they are even sick, called "anosognosia." As a result, they lapse back into psychosis and eventually do something worthy of incarceration. Homelessness, arrests, hospitalizations, and incarcerations drop up to 90% among the mentally ill who are in AOT programs compared to their experiences of three years prior to participating in the AOT. It is cheaper than prison by far (imprisoning the mentally ill costs the normal $50,000 per year PLUS up to another $100,000 for special needs.)
Frequently, released psychiatric patients quit their treatment upon release from jails and hospitals because of anosognosia and commit crimes ranging from simple vagrancy to murder, like 32-year-old Na Yong Pak, a woman who was released from a mental health facility in Georgia last year despite her family's protests, and she promptly murdered her mom - burned her to death. See this family's tragic story here: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/2009/02/11/burned_woman_mental.html
There has been ZERO reduction in costs to taxpayers on behalf of the indigent mentally ill resulting from closing hospitals and reducing services in the communities. In fact, there was a significant increase in shifting the sick from hospitals and community care to the prison system. The mentally ill are not going to jails instead of into treatment to save money or to save sick people from institutionalization. The difference is WHO gets the money - private prison profiteers rather than hospital and outpatient treatment providers.
************************ Imprisoning People with Mental Illness By John M Grohol PsyD July 18, 2009
People with mental illness are increasingly ending up being imprisoned, rather than in the mental health care system where many of them belong. With the down economy, states and counties — who are primarily responsible for the health of the indigent — cut social services first. And with most public psychiatric hospitals long-since closed, people who have a mental disorder end up being warehoused not in hospitals, but in prisons.
Yes, we succeeded in closing down the state mental hospitals. But we moved the population not to outpatient facilities, but to our prisons.
Now, finally, people are realizing the short-sightedness of locking people with mental illness up, as the spiraling prison costs of doing so become a burden to cash-strapped local governments.
In Philadelphia, a new mental health court has just started, meant to divert people away from prison and into mental health treatment. By doing so, the hope is that they can reduce the incidence of mental illness within prisons, and provide better care for people with a mental disorder in the process.
The new court is part of an approach called “sequential interception,” which includes programs designed to intervene so that people with mental illness don’t get caught up in the criminal justice system - or even killed by it. [...]
The court and the CIT are responses to a complex problem that began decades ago when the closing of state hospitals released mentally ill people into the community without adequate support or services.
Decades later, the high numbers of mentally ill people occupying prisons - some reports put the number at 30 percent of the inmate population - suggests that in too many cases, prisons have replaced state hospitals.
Imagine that — up to 30 percent of prisoners could have a treatable mental disorder. And guess what kind of mental health care most prison systems offer? Limited, if any (federal prisons tend to do a better job in this area than state-run prisons, but none come close to offering the kinds of services one would typically find in their local community).
Human Rights Watch has called out the U.S. prison system for its warehousing of the mentally ill and giving them inadequate care:
In 1998, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported there were an estimated 283,000 prison and jail inmates who suffered from mental health problems. That number is now estimated to be 1.25 million. The rate of reported mental health disorders in the state prison population is five times greater (56.2 percent) than in the general adult population (11 percent).
Women prisoners have an even higher rate of mental health problems than men: almost three quarters (73 percent) of all women in state prison have mental health problems, compared to 55 percent of men.
“While the number of mentally ill inmates surges, prisons remain dangerous and damaging places for them,” said Jamie Fellner, director of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program and co-author of a 2003 report, “Ill-Equipped: U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness.” “Prisons are woefully ill-equipped for their current role as the nation’s primary mental health facilities.”
Prison systems are horrifying places to be in the first place. They are even more so for someone who is suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and doesn’t have access to standard treatments for them. The previous Human Rights Watch report noted:
Inmates with mental illness are often punished for their symptoms. Being disruptive, refusing to obey orders, and engaging in acts of self-mutilation and attempted suicide can all result in punitive action. As a result, the report noted, prisoners with mental illness often have extensive disciplinary histories.
Frequently, the prisoners end up in isolation units. “In the most extreme cases, conditions are truly horrific,” the report stated, adding:
Mentally ill prisoners locked in segregation with no treatment at all; confined in filthy and beastly hot cells; left for days covered in feces they have smeared over their bodies; taunted, abused, or ignored by prison staff; given so little water during summer heat waves that they drink from their toilet bowls. … Suicidal prisoners are left naked and unattended for days on end in barren, cold observation cells. Poorly trained correctional officers have accidentally asphyxiated mentally ill prisoners whom they were trying to restrain.
These are conditions one would expect in a third-world country. Not in the U.S. And not for people who are often most in need of compassion and care.
What research is there to show such mental health courts help? On Friday, a study was released that showed a 20 to 25 percent improvement in offender outcomes under the mental health court system in Minnesota.
Those who did not go through the specialized court got arrested again in less than three weeks.
Sociologist Henry Steadman, who heads the New York-based policy research group, said it’s important to view those numbers in context.
“Taking a hard-core, challenging population that has failed repeatedly in all three systems: criminal justice, substance abuse and mental health,” Steadman said, “and has cycled and is a particularly challenging group, and have come up with an intervention that is a 20 to 25 percent improvement on almost all the measures. My evaluation is that’s pretty damn good in today’s world.”
Indeed. While mental health courts don’t result in immediate cost savings, after about a year and a half, the savings start to add up. And of course, those 20 to 25 percent of people who go through such programs are leading far better lives than if they were stuck behind bars in prison.
But in the end, it’s not really about costs, is it? It’s about treating humans with basic dignity and respect, and taking care of those who need treatment and care. A society is judged in part by how they take care of their most vulnerable and sick citizens. Today, our society just got a little bit better.
Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.
THERE IS NO MYSTERY AS TO WHY 1.25 MILLION MENTALLY ILL AMERICANS ARE IN PRISON. IT HAS TO DO WITH MONEY, AS DR. GROHOL SAID, BUT NOT SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY.
IT HAS TO DO WITH PRISON PROFITEERING AT THE EXPENSE OF SACRIFICING THE WEAKEST MEMBERS OF OUR SOCIETY.
CRIMINALIZING MENTAL ILLNESS IS DONE TO BENEFIT PRISON PROFITEERS, LIKE EXCESSIVE SENTENCING, DENIAL OF DNA TESTING RIGHTS, DENIAL OF NEW TRIALS WITH SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE OF DOUBT, MANDATORY THREE-STRIKES LAWS, AND MANY WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS, WHICH RESULT MOST OFTEN FROM INADEQUATE DEFENSE BY PUBLIC DEFENDERS.
SOME BELIEVE THAT PUBLIC DEFENDERS OFFICES HAVE LIMITED RESOURCES BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF CAPITAL. THE OPPOSIT IS TRUE. EVERY INMATE, WHETHER INNOCENT OR GUILTY, COSTS TAXPAYERS AROUND $50,000 PER YEAR TO INCARCERATE. THEREFORE, PROVIDING POOR LEGAL DEFENSE ACTUALLY COSTS MORE MONEY TO THE TAXPAYERS WHEN INNOCENT PEOPLE GO TO PRISON. A 30-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO IS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON COSTS TAXPAYERS AROUND $3.5 MILLION DOLLARS. THAT AMOUNT CAN BE MORE THAN DOUBLED IF THE INMATE IS OR BECOMES CHRONICALLY MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY ILL. THEREFORE, PROVIDING INADEQUATE LEGAL SERVICES IS TERRIBLY EXPENSIVE EVEN IF IT RESULTS IN JUST ONE WRONGFUL CONVICTION, NOT TO MENTION THE UNJUST HUMAN SUFFERING.
MOST INSTANCES OF IMPRISONING MENTAL PATIENTS ARE VIOLATIONS AGAINST THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS, BECAUSE SO MANY OF THEM LACKED AN UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR MIRANDA LAW (GIVING ACCUSED PERSONS THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT WHAT THEY SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST THEM). ACUTE MENTAL PATIENTS ALSO USUALLY LACK THE ABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR OWN DEFENSE AT TRIAL. NA YONG PAK'S BROTHER REPORTED THAT AFTER SHE BURNED THEIR MOTHER TO DEATH WITHIN 12 DAYS OF RELEASE FROM THE MENTAL HOSPITAL, NA YONG HAD NO IDEA WHATSOEVER WHY SHE WAS IN PRISON. WHAT GOOD IS IT THAT TAXPAYERS SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS "PUNISHING" PEOPLE LIKE NA YONG. THEY RECOGNIZE THEY ARE BEING TORTURED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, COLD AND NAKED, BUT MANY OF THEM HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY ARE MADE TO SUFFER.
PRISONS ARE CALLED "CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS," AND THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE IS PUNISHMENT FOR WRONGDOING. PRISONS ARE ALSO SUPPOSED TO BE REHABILITATION FACILITIES, EVEN THOUGH PRECIOUS LITTLE IS DONE TO REHABILITATE INMATES. IN ANY CASE, ACUTE MENTAL ILLNESS CANNOT BE "CORRECTED" BY PUNISHING SICK PEOPLE, AND IT CANNOT BE "REHABILITATED." MENTAL ILLNESS IS A HEALTH CONDITION AND MUST BE TREATED, NOT PUNISHED. THE VICTIMS OF THE DEVASTATING ILLNESS NEED CARE, LIKE VICTIMS OF HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, OR ANY OTHER CHRONIC ILLNESS. TREATMENT OF MENTAL ILLNESS CERTAINLY DOES NOT RISE TO THE COST OF OVER $3.5 MILLION REQUIRED FOR LIFETIME IMPRISONMENT AFTER EXPENSIVE TRIALS THAT SICK PEOPLE MAY NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND.
NATIONWIDE APPLICATION OF KENDRA'S LAW FOR NON-VIOLENT MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS AND HOSPITALIZATION FOR VIOLENT SICK PEOPLE WOULD SAVE BILLIONS ANNUALLY OFF AMERICA'S PRISON BUDGET AND RESTORE 1.25 MILLION AMERICANS TO A MORE WHOLESOME EXISTENCE. AOT PROGRAMS HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FACILITATE MOVING MANY MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS FROM BEING A TAXPAYER BURDEN TO BECOMING TAXPAYERS, THEMSELVES.
WHENEVER THERE IS A SOCIAL ILL, LOOK AT THE MONEY TRAIL AND SEE WHERE IT LEADS. THERE IS ALWAYS A MONETARY CAUSE FOR EVERY SOCIAL PROBLEM. ( link: 1 Timothy 6:10 )
WHATEVER THE PROBLEM, CHECK AND SEE WHO PROFITS, whether it is a matter of war and peace; poor prison rehab programs; withholding treatment from the mentally ill unless they have the wherewithal to seek psychiatric services (reserving them for prison); environmental injustice; equipping all police officers with Tasers that they do not recognize as being merely less lethal, not "non-lethal"; inadequate public school education (keeping people ignorant); ousting God from public everything (so the Government will be the highest authority in the minds of the people), the proposal of forcing all U.S. citizens to choose between accepting a potentially harmful or deadly H1N1 vaccine or be incarcerated in FEMA camps, etc. Someone profits from every social problem.
Detainee treatment inside the U.S. is frequently as abusive as it was in offshore prison camps imprisoning those accused in the War on Terror. See http://www.geocities.com/prisonmurder/ - Click on each prisoner's photograph on the homepage for his/her story. My brother is no. 26 - Larry Neal.
In addition to prisoner abuse, America has a police brutality problem that threatens the cohesion of our social structure. When police kill unarmed citizens, as in Oscar Grant's case, there is an unwelcome opportunity for social unrest to rise to dangerous levels.
PEACEFUL prisoner activists and individuals with an interest in human rights are invited to attend, particularly those interested in:
1) death penalty 2) prison torture 3) solitary confinement 4) life without the possibility of parole 5) trying children as adults and life sentences for minors 6) mandatory sentencing 7) three-strikes laws 8) law of parties 9) criminalizing mental illness, including PTSD among American veterans 10) plans for mass "emergency centers" inside U.S.A. for Americans (H.R. 645) 11) private prison profiteering - especially by decision-makers with positions in criminal justice (conflicts of interest) 12) excessive sentencing and unacceptable disparities in sentencing for similar offenses 13) enforcement of Freedom of Information Act 14) prisoner healthcare 15) increased funding for public defenders 16) post-conviction DNA testing 17) no penalty or misdemeanor charge for less than one oz. of marijuana 18) strict enforcement against police and prison brutality; prosecution of 100% of offenders 19) new trials with substantial new evidence, like the Troy Davis case 20) so-called "non-lethal" weaponry and the possibility of conflicts of interest among decision makers regarding police equipment purchases 21) illegal alien raids and arrests 22) police profiling and abuse of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons 23) surveillance of U.S. citizens; loss of privacy rights 24) Prisoner information and visitation issues 25) justice for victims and families of abused or murdered prisoners (whether or not victims lived to reach jail)
CHANGE is needed in the justice system.Mainstream news affiliates must cease being party to abuse of power cover-ups by their failure to report selected news. Example: Congressional bill H.R.619 has received NO mainstream media coverage, although omitting mental hospital insurance is an issue that affects all Americans, particularly 1.25 million incarcerated mental patients and their 10 million relatives and close friends. Censorship makes citizens journalism important as everyday people keep each other informed. March with us in an online demonstration to strengthen human/civil rights.
Children Tried As Adults
PAYING FOR NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS IN THE PRISON SYSTEM:
Removing non-violent mentally ill inmates from prisons and jails and into outpatient commitment programs like Kendra's Law (or into secure mental hospitals for violent offenders) would immediately eliminate the need for private prisons and save taxpayers BILLIONS each year.
The money that would be saved byrepealing the death penalty and decriminalizing mental illness could finance all of the changes listed below with money left over for states' general budgets.
* It is much cheaper and more humane for mentally challenged people to be treated in their communities than prison costs taxpayers. Mentally challenged inmates who are not charged with violent crimes should be provided subsistence assistance to avoiding homelessness. Search online for "Kendra's Law" and "Assisted Outpatient Treatment." Please support congressional bill H.R.619 to resume Medicaid for inpatient psychiatric treatment. It was introduced in January 2009 by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX), a former psychiatric nurse who understands that mentally ill people cannot be punished into as state of good mental health. Treatment must replace imprisonment to end systemic discrimination, save lives and resources, as well as restore many people to wholesome lives. . * Each death row inmate costs taxpayers an additional $90,000 per year above the cost for inmates in maximum security prisons, per Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).
WHO BENEFITS FROM JUSTICE REFORM?
~taxpayers would save billions on the nation's annual prison budget
~ inmates would be better prepared to re-enter society as contributing members once prisons place increased emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation
~individuals, families and communities would be less likely to be negatively impacted by avoidable incarcerations and incidents of police brutality
~Police officers and prison guards would gain a less volatile work atmosphere once prison abuse and police brutality are no longer ignored by authorities.
Additional information will be provided at the article as arrangements are finalized. Hope to see you in marching online with AIMI members for human rights for prisoners!
Please check out this full length article with VIDEOS that reveal the truth about our justice system and how it can be improved. Now is the time to address issues - PREVENTION is better than reaction. Feel free to comment on these or other justice concerns at any of my articles. See links to most of them at my Google profile - http://google.com/profiles/MaryLovesJustice
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR PRISONERS MARCH - People need "dog justice," humane treatment that is actually enforced.
A full article was at NowPublic exposing corruption in the justice system created by private prison profiteering at the below link. The article suffered numerous attacks, and I note that it has now been deleted. SOME of the comments remain at the link below. My membership at NowPublic.com was suspended after I published a series of articles protesting enforced H1N1 vaccines - Michael Jackson's Death - The Conspiracy Theory series. http://my.nowpublic.com/world/human-rights-prisoners-march-planned-mid-may-atlanta
All online communication is monitored and controlled, including phones. Note that my email address is not a link (copy and paste into your email, please). If you receive no response within 24 hours, please use U.S. Mail, which might work. I'm not sure.
JAIL IS THE LAST THING MENTAL PATIENTS NEED ... AND TOO OFTEN, JAIL IS THE L-A-S-T THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join us in our quest to decriminalize mental illness in America. No one should be punished for having a disability, but right now 1.25 million mentally ill people are imprisoned.
We All Need Each Other. Be there for your brother
Jeff Wood, condemned mental patient, TX LAW OF PARTIES
Kathryn Johnston police violence victim
He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brother
By 2011, American soldiers in Iraq are coming home; 54% may suffer PTSD. Many veterans from Viet Nam to the Gulf War conflict are imprisoned today because PTSD caused them to have unacceptable behavior.
Police Helping Citizens Many Police are Good Samaritans
Over a year after the
tragic shootings at Sandy
extremely little has
actually been done to
remedy the situation that
leads to such horrendous
shootings in the first
place. Lawmakers haven't
yet seen fit to pass
Thx/Mourning, World AIDS,
Women‘s Days to
All, create for All,
write on :) These actions
on Disabled Greens News
and discussion: Unhacked
This is the Content of my
weekly e-mail to the
President and my Members
I have just sent the
following message to
President Obama, and I
think the Congress should
heed this also!Mr.
Administration is very
much to be comm...
I have just sent the
following Message to
Vice-President Biden, and
others:We must absolutely
STOP the privatization of
our Prisons - and the
QUOTAS for filling those
Prisons and for Police
making arrests! We must
According to wiki; "A
classic staple of science
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is matter composed
subatomic particles that
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intrinsic angular mo...
Beginning in the 1950s,
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scientists engaged in a
dangerous race to see who
could build and detonate
the world's largest bomb.
In the Soviet Union,
Andrei Sakharov was the
architect of this
According to the movie,
According to NIRS;
"Marine life in all
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manatees and sea turtles
to essential microscopic
organisms, is being
harmed and killed by
systems, used to remove
waste heat at nuclear
3/18/11: "The source term
provided to NARAC was:
(1) 25% of the total fuel
in unit 2 (SFP) released
to the atmosphere, (2)
50% of the total spent
fuel from unit 3 (SFP)
was released to the
atmosphere, and (3) 100%
of the total spent fuel
I have just sent this
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And my Senators and
consider sending a
SIMILAR message to YOUR
It is time to get REAL,
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Every nuclear reactor
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