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Jun 22, 2009

~ Treatment Advocacy Center Briefing Paper 
Criminalization of individuals with severe psychiatric disorders

"We are literally drowning in patients, running around trying to put our fingers in the bursting dikes, while hundreds of men continue to deteriorate psychiatrically before our eyes into serious psychoses… The crisis stems from recent changes in the mental health laws allowing more mentally sick patients to be shifted away from the mental health department into the department of corrections…"

 

−California prison psychiatrist

Nowhere in our society is the debacle of deinstitutionalization felt more than in our criminal justice system. While well intentioned, reform efforts meant to protect the liberties of people with mental illnesses resulted in many of the most severely ill going without needed treatment. That, along with major cost-shifting by the states to the federal government following the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, has led to the largest component of today’s health crisis: The criminalization of Americans with severe psychiatric illnesses. In fact, America’s jails and prisons are now surrogate psychiatric hospitals for thousands of individuals with the severest brain diseases.

* * *

Jails and prisons: The nation’s largest psychiatric facilities

The balance of this brief is at this link: 
http://www.psychlaws.org/GeneralResources/Fact3.htm

Jun 17, 2009

ANOTHER SAD TALE OF HOMELESSNESS, PRISON, AND DEATH FOR AN ACUTE MENTAL PATIENT - Schizophrenic Georgia woman Na Yong Yak burned her mother to death 12 days after Na Yong was released from a mental hospital against her family's protests that she needed more treatment.

Why must there be a smoking gun or dripping knife for mentally ill persons to be treated (in prison)?

Photo depicts a person under stress (not Na Yong).  Mental illness is a problem faced by 1 in 5 Americans.

Confusion; Depression; Stress

SUBSISTENCE ASSISTANCE AND ENFORCED TREATMENT UNDER ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT PROGAMS CAN PREVENT NEEDLESS SUFFERING AND IMPRISONMENT

IS THAT WHY THERE ARE LAWS AGAINST ENFORCED TREATMENT?  See the photos of Na Yong with her family at the link below.

FOX 5 Special:  A Family Failed
http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/FOX_5_Special_A_Family_Failed_051309

ATLANTA (MyFOX ATLANTA) - On February 10, 2008, police said a Norcross woman threw gasoline on her mother and lit her on fire. Na Yong Pak's family said they saw the violence coming and tried for months to get help to for the mentally ill woman.

In family photos Pak, is a smiling little girl, untouched by the mental illness that would come later.
Pak's brother Chris said his 32-year-old sister's life started to unravel.

Chris Pak said his sister moved home and it was clear she was troubled.

"I could hear her talking to herself in her room, you know, yelling," said Pak. "When I saw that, I was very frightened."

Chris Pak was even more frightened by his sister's belief that their mother Myong Hui was trying to poison her.

"My sister lived in fear. She lived in fear every day, she feared that even though it was her mother, her own mother was killing her every day," Pak said.

Pak said his sister started lashing out at their mother.

Last summer Pak said his sister attacked their mother so the family went to court to have Nay Yong Pak involuntarily hospitalized. The woman was only hospitalized for two weeks and by September, Chris Pak said Nay Yong Pak was attacking their mom again.

"She had a gash in her head, in the back of her head, about a couple of inches long, and she went to the hospital and told them that she fell by herself. And I told my mom, 'Don't say that!'" recalled Chris Pak.

Pak said his mother didn't want her daughter in jail, but she wanted her to get help.

"You have to protect yourself. And although I understand the reluctance to involve law enforcement, they really need to," said Eric Spencer.

Spencer runs the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Georgia . The organization offers support groups and classes for families struggling with mental illness.

Spencer said NAMI encourages families to set clear boundaries that cannot be crossed.

[ANSWER?  HOMELESSNESS]

"That's a hard thing for a family member to do, is to tell a loved one, a daughter or a son to get out of the house, but in many cases, that has been the one thing that made all the difference in the world," said Spencer [of Georgia NAMI].

Myong Hui was reluctant to confront her daughter and by late November, Chris Pak said his sister had attacked their mother again.

Once more the Paks went back to court to have Na Yong Pak involuntarily hospitalized.

Na Yong Pak was taken to Georgia Regional Hospital at Atlanta, a state mental health facility where Chris Pak said his family asked a judge and psychiatrist to keep her she was stable.

"We told them she's [going to] kill somebody, kill herself or kill my mother," said Pak.

Seven weeks later, Pak said the family was told to pick up his sister because she was being sent home.

The discharge papers described Na Yong Pak as "calm and passive" but Chris Pak said when a nurse tried to hand his sister her prescriptions she cursed at her.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Human Resources, which runs Georgia Regional Hospital, said the agency couldn't discuss Na Yong Pak's treatment or discharge because of privacy restrictions.

Chris Pak said the day after his sister returned home, problems started once more.

[ANSWER?  DEATH]

Twelve days after Na Yong Pak's release from the hospital, she launched her worst attack on her mother.

Pak said his sister threw a cup of gasoline on his mother and then lit her on fire. When the paramedics arrived Myong Hui was outside waiting.

"She had this, holding on her, putting herself out like this," said Chris Pak of the water hose his mother used to put out the flames.

Pak's 58-year-old mother was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital's burn unit.

"When I got there, they told me my mother, she was going to die. I saw her, was like burned all the way," said Chris Pak.
Myong Hui defended her daughter to the very end of her life.

"She told me, 'take care of your sister because she's sick,'" recalled Chris Pak.

[ANSWER?  PRISON]

Na Yong Pak was taken to the Gwinnett County jail and has been charged with murder.

"I feel sad for my sister because of the fact she's in there and she's sick," Pak said.

Pak and his father, Gold Pak, moved away from their Norcross neighborhood because they said the memories were too painful.

Pak said he visited his sister several times.

"She was frightened and confused. She didn't know why she was in jail. She was crying her eyes out," said Pak.

Each night Pak said he and his father light a candle for his mother. Pak said he and father believe that they lost two family members that day in a tragedy they feel could have been prevented.

"How many more people are going to die before they do anything?" asked Pak.

*******************************

QUESTION:  HOW MUCH MONEY DID GEORGIA TAXPAYERS SAVE BY REFUSING TO KEEP PAK LONGER INSTEAD OF DISCHARGING HER EARLY?
 
Remember, the discharge papers falsely claimed Ms. Pak was "stable," although she cussed at the discharge nurse before leaving the facility.  The hospital personnel no more believed Na Yong to be stable than her family did.  Her discharge probably was ordered for financial reasons and/or lack of space, which is still a financial reason. 

So how much money was saved at the expense of Myong Hui's life?  The answer is  ZERO.  Money that should have gone to Na Yong's mental health care is now doubled or tripled because of court costs and prison fees.  Georgia saved nothing by ignoring this family’s protests and dismissing Na Yong from the hospital earlier than needed, which resulted in her mom’s death and a felony murder arrest for Na Yong.
http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/18683942/detail.html


STATE BUDGETS TAKE A BIG HIT WITH EVERY MENTALLY ILL PERSON WHO GOES TO PRISON INSTEAD OF GETTING TIMELY TREATMENT.  PRISONS COST UP TO $50,000 PER YEAR PER PRISONER AND MUCH MORE FOR INMATES WHO NEED CONTINUOUS MENTAL OR PHYSICAL HEALTH CARE.

The family is devastated, another sick person was charged and probably sentenced to a lengthy, expensive prison term, and the only people who might benefit are prison owners.  Private prison profiteers benefit even when people go to public prisons because until public correctional facilities are full, they get no inmates.  This is probably why mental hospitals are closed, community care limited, and mandatory treatment largely outlawed.

Chronic mental patients exiting institutions should be placed in an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program like Kendra’s Law that combines subsistence assistance with mandatory outpatient treatment.  Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs reduce homelessness, recidivism, and future hospitalizations by 85% or better.  Furthermore, fewer arrests occur because there are fewer crimes by mental patients.  This mean safer communities and less expense to taxpayers. 

HOMELESSNESS, PRISON, AND DEATH MUST CEASE BEING AMERICA'S ANSWER TO ACUTE MENTAL ILLNESS. 

It is much less expensive and more humane to treat mentally ill Americans than it is to allow the public to be at risk, the patients to be at risk, and taxpayers to pay exorbitant court fees, lawyer fees for indigent clients, and prison fees that include mental health care - usually much more expensive than hospitalization, and always more costly than assistant outpatient treatment.  My guess is that Na Yong stopped taking her meds soon after leaving the hospital, if not immediately.  By the 12th day, she was ready to kill, and she did.

If she gets life in prison at age 32, Yak's incarceration will cost taxpayers over $3 million dollars.  Who benefited by Na Yong's early release from Georgia regional?  Not many taxpayers have prison stock. 

Enforced treatment works to prevent needless suffering and imprisonment.

Is that why there are laws against it?

Elected officials, prison profiteering is hell on your constituents.  Please help.

Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
http://www.Care2.com/c2c/group/AIMI

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.

JAIL
   

HOMELESSNESS, PRISON, AND DEATH - IN 21ST CENTURY AMERICA, WHY ARE ACUTE MENTAL PATIENTS STILL LIVING IN DUNGEONS LIKE IN THE DARK AGES, SUFFERING UP TO 23 HOURS A DAY IN 9 FT. BY 6 FT. SOLITARY CONFINEMENT CELLS?  60% OF THE 25,000 INMATES IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT ARE MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE IN HOSPITALS IF THEY ARE VIOLENT LIKE NA YONG.  IF THEY WERE ARRESTED FOR NON-VIOLENT OFFENSES LIKE MY BROTHER, LARRY NEAL, OFTEN WAS, THEY SHOULD BE IN ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT PROGRAMS TO SAVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OFF STATE BUDGETS AND INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY.
Mar 30, 2009

Hello, readers  

I had a difficult day yesterday. My family is taking advantage of the fact that I must depend on them to go to the store for me to make me stop smoking.  They brought me chocolate chip cookies instead of smokes!  And you know it would not do for me to try to go to the corner store.  I went to the P.O. the other night, and three of the people who had me cornered at the Chevron station and other locales last summer were there at the P.O.  So, they still follow me. 

I filed another stalking report in our USDC case, written by a security guard who caught a man waiting in his car parked right next to mine on the parking lot when I left work one night last winter.  We managed to get the license number, too.  Of course, the police will not investigate any of my stalking events, just like the USDOJ won't investigate the secret arrest and wrongful death of Larry Neal in Shelby County Jail, in Memphis, Tennessee. That happened in 2003 when Gonzales was attorney general.  Need I say more?

This is tough to go through for a Georgia grandmother.  What makes it so hard is that the police will not investigate my being stalked.  They won't investigate the incidents. In fact, no one even asked Cochran Firm attorney Angela Mason how she was able to report to the federal judge what color the vehicle was that followed me last winter.

To top it off, today when I was trying to edit my Care2 page, the cyber stalker took half the data off the page - my Dorothea Dix photo and information and other data.  I have films of this sort of thing happening.  I save it for the day when mainstream media has to stop ignoring my family's issues.  It will happen before too long, unless justice comes first, because we will have to go ahead with the march right up to CNN, because there is no way I will stay home much longer while police who are paid in part from the taxes my family and I pay fail to do their jobs and investigate my stalking incidents.  It just is not fair, and at some point, a person has to take a stand, even if only God stands with them.  He is able all by himself.

Yes, it has been a very educational year.  But I may know why this is happening.  If you look at the web, our justice quest has high visibility regarding Larry - a mentally ill heart patient who was secretly arrested for weeks until his death, while the jail denied having him. Yahoo "wrongful death of Larry Neal," and you will see for yourself. I feel that God is using this whole thing to help sick people who are suffering in prisons and jails across America.  The tide is turning.  It is turning! 

Other organizations have been working on mental health issues for a long time.  They talk to people about civil rights and civic responsibility and humane treatment.  They have to do it that way, but I do not.  Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill is not a religious organization.  We have members of all different beliefs, including some atheists and agnostics, and EVERYONE IS WELCOME AND APPRECIATED.  But I am a Christian, and I often quote from the Bible.  Nothing matches religion for impacting man's historical record. 

We like to think that our work at AIMI helps the effort to decriminalize mental illness. Imprisoning 1.25 million mentally challenged people is something that never should have happened AGAIN in America. Ms. Dorothea Dix already rescued the mentally ill from the nation's prisons and jails in the 1800's, and with so-called "de-institutionalization" of the 70's, they are back again. 

Eventually, mental illness will again stop being a punishable offense in America as more people are made aware of the imprisonment of sick people and the conditions under which many patients live behind bars. Most people have many postive qualities, having been made in the image of their Creator.  Although many are atheists, some are agnostic, some are Christians, and others follow some other path, all are made in the image of their Creator and my Father, and most people are enough like him to have sympathy for human beings who are suffering.  People have heroic qualities, and compassion is one of them.  They just naturally want to assist abused  human beings and rescue abused animals.  Nobody likes a bully. 

People hate to see the rich and powerful trample the helpless and sick under their feet.  Our Father made people in His perfect image - the image of Love.  Not that god we hear so much about - the one who wants folks to be at war.  I mean the God of Love who so loved the world that He gave - sacrificially - the very best He had.  Whether one looks at that as being fact or myth, people enjoy giving and helping to improve life for others.

What I write about incarcerated mental patients is intended to appeal the loving nature of my readers, their Christ nature, if you will.  The Word of God is powerful.  Hopefully, it helps the issue to add simple reminders of our common humanity and God's expectation that we care about the least of these, His brethren, to the secular reasoning coming from such outstanding organizations as Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) and others.   

People want to be right, and in their spirits, and they know it is wrong to mistreat sick people, leave them without necessary treatment because acute mental patients generally do not recognize their own need, but then incarcerate them for inappropriate behavior, often naked in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for months and sometimes years.  That  is wrong, and it does not take more than common sense and the spirit of truth to acknowledge it.

And I say again to those who have investments in private prisons and are counting on the mentally ill to continue to keep those prisons full, re-invest QUICKLY!  Put your investment into treatment programs and hospitals.  The tide is turning.  People know now, and they care.  For God has said, "Let my people go." 

We who work to decriminalize mental illness are gaining momentum. Soon and very soon, God is going to spring the least of these His brethren from the dungeons across America where they have been kept chained, gassed, tasered, and dying in restraint chairs for over three decades!  God has said to the crying mothers, "ENOUGH."  Change needs to come regarding how America addresses mental illness.  Look who acknowledged it today!  Below is a report from TAC:

************************

The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the 20 largest newspapers in the U.S., gave a ringing endorsement for assisted outpatient treatment and for pending legislation in Pennsylvania and a similar proposal in New Jersey.

"Court-ordered outpatient treatment for the mentally ill is effective for the individual and less expensive for the state," the paper wrote in an editorial on Monday, March 30, 2009.

Unfortunately, the paper noted, assisted outpatient treatment is rarely used in Pennsylvania.

"That's because the state's outdated 1976 mental-health law requires ill people to be a 'clear and present danger' to themselves or others before a judge can order them to get treatment," the paper noted.  "By the time people with mental illness deteriorate to that point, outpatient services are often not appropriate. They usually end up hospitalized."

***************************
That is such good news.  Soon, those old "clear and present danger" clauses will be struck down across America.  Watch and see!

I was upset last night - out of cigarettes and did not feel comfortable going to my own neighborhood store alone.  But today, because I see the good that this advocacy is doing to help other mental health organizations bring about needed CHANGE, and because I can see that God is using my family's justice quest to help expose the problems faced by other suffering people like my poor brother, Larry,  I feel like going on.
 

THANK YOU, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER! 
                 HAPPY HEROES DAY! 

It is hard to be housebound.  I have not even been to the park in a year, and I love taking my grands to the park.  It is awful to think that if we were treated fairly in court, my family would actually be done with this justice quest and I would be living free now.  But dispite all of that, the Philadelphia Inquirer put a song in my heart today when I read of their endorsement for assisted outpatient treatment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Djqg7rEqO0

Thank you for your encouragement and for speaking up for the least of these, His brethren. 

Blessings!

Mary Neal
http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com/

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
http://care2.com/c2c/group/AIMI

 

Oct 12, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TREATMENT ADVOCACY CENTER (TAC)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mental Health Parity is Now Law

After more than 10 years in the making, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act is now the law of the land.  This landmark legislation requires health insurance plans that offer mental health coverage to provide the same financial and treatment coverage offered for other physical illnesses. 

The idea began in 1996 when the two senators from different sides of the aisle experienced what insurance discrimination of mental illnesses did to their own families.  They saw it wasn’t right and championed the movement to make it right.  Because of their efforts, millions of American families will be better off.

“We are ushering in a new era of health care for those with mental illnesses. No longer will we allow mental health to be treated as a stepchild in the health care system. If you have insurance, then your mental health care must be equal to the benefits you get for any other disease,” Sen. Domenici said. “I appreciate all the partners I’ve had in this long, long effort but most especially Senator Ted Kennedy, who has been remarkable and stepped up to this work after Paul Wellstone’s tragic death. This has been a labor of love for us.”

Because of the dogged efforts of Senators Domenici and Wellstone, a scaled-down version of parity was enacted in 1996, against fierce opposition from insurance industry lobbyists.  Each year, it seemed, the full version would come close to passing but never fully making its way to the president’s desk.  This year, as part of the Wall Street rescue measure, it became a must sign piece of legislation.  While it took more than 10 years for the full measure, the federal government and many states moved toward mental health parity sooner.  The Clinton administration revised Medicaid rules to extend parity for that program.  That was a major benefit for many families where someone had a severe mental illness.

Now, as a law, it is also a fitting tribute to cap the career of Sen. Domenici who is retiring at the end of this year.  The battle could not have been won without his leadership.

***************************

Announcement by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

October 8, 2008

Dear Ms. Neal :

Thank you for contacting me regarding mental health parity legislation. It is good to hear from you.

The Senate passed S. 558, the "Mental Health Parity Act of 2007," on September 18, 2007 by Unanimous Consent. This legislation does not require health insurance plans to offer mental health coverage. However, should they decide to offer such coverage, this bill states that it must be similar to the coverage offered for physical illnesses. 

In addition, this legislation applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. On September 19, 2007, S. 558 was received in the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.  

Moreover, H.R. 1424, the "Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007," passed the House of Representatives on March 5, 2008, and was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. This legislation would require health insurers to offer mental health benefits equal to the coverage offered for medical and surgical benefits.

The Conference Committee subsequently reached an agreement in resolving differences between the two versions of the bill. This agreement was included in the " Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," which passed the Senate with my support on October 1, 2008, and was signed into law by the President (P.L. 110-343).

Access to affordable and quality health care for all Americans will continue to be one of my top priorities. If you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at:   www.chambliss.senate.gov

********************************************

There is a television character whose line is "Totally Awesome, Dude!"  I can think of nothing better to say than that. 

Thank you so very much, Heavenly Father!  You gave us good representation in our nation's capital - men and women who really care about the least of these, OUR brethren.  They have come together this year from both sides of the aisle and worked diligently to better things for Americans with disabilities, the aged, and our nation's psychiatric patients.  Bless them, Father!  Guide their steps, ease their anxieties, and give them wisdom to continue to honor You and to govern by Your principles.  Thank you that American health care will thrive under a Godly administration!  We give You all the praise, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

THANK YOU, REPRESENTATIVES, FOR

         RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT!


Representatives, don't stop here. 
Please decriminalize mental illness.  Psychiatric patients are imprisoned and some are dying. 


Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
Website: 
http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com/


 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
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