This page was created to compile links to media stories documenting the abuse of citizens afflicted with brain function disorders in the courts, jails, and prisons. The proverbial broken “mental health” system did not put these human beings in jails and prisons, – Due Process and disordered public policies put them there. Across this nation, in every state and county, people with devastating neurobehavioral disorders are being held captive from medical treatment awaiting “competency restoration” (which should never be conflated with medical care), sometimes, for weeks, months, and in some cases much longer. Lawsuits have been deployed against state departments of health for unconstitutional delays in “competency services” on the basis that these delays impeded the right to a speedy trial. The lawsuits seek to supply the criminal justice system with more “forensic beds”. The organizations launching these lawsuits need to get some religion – so to speak. The wrong entities are being sued for the wrong reasons. The law and criminal justice system use shady terminologies at every juncture to evade recognition of serious brain function disorders and their behavioral consequences.
The media reports on cases of people dying in jails due to lack of ‘mental health’ treatment. Restating what is made clear on other pages of this website: The term mental health is being used improperly. Mental Health as a terminology refers to non-medical psychosocial issues. Poor mental health is not the same as cerebral illness (so-called mental illness…a term that needs to be abolished). The people being jailed unjustly and the subject of this page are not suffering from ‘mental health’ issues, they are afflicted with very serious brain health disorders that are neurologic in nature (such as so-called schizophrenia, and forms or phases of bipolar) and that involve disordered states of consciousness and attendant neurobehavioral symptoms – including assaultivness.
The letter or spirit of M’Naghten’s Rule is putting philosophically innocent people in prison. Legal practitioners believe that there is a legitimate definition of insanity albeit it narrow. No one meets the criteria for legal insanity under M’Naghten’s – Because over 150 years ago, men who did not understand neurobehavioral illness defined “insanity” improperly. The few people who have been dispositioned as some form of NGRI have benefited from potluck justice…from a judge or jury’s gut sense of what “insanity” is – None of these acquittees met the criteria either. The law needs an altogether separate special verdict for exemption from criminal responsibility on the basis on neurobehavioral illness. No humane being is “insane” under the M’Naghten’s Rule definition.
As an example of how the arc of justice has veered sharply downward into the sunken place that we are in:
The Massachusetts legislature appointed a committee in 1827 to investigate conditions in the state’s jails. Among the specific recommendations of the committee was that all mentally ill inmates of jails and prisons should be transferred to the Massachusetts General Hospital and that confinement of mentally ill persons in the state’s jails should be made illegal.
Look where we are now, with jails and prisons being called de facto mental institutions.
The treatment facility that pressed charges and administratively discharged Jamal is just as criminally culpable for Jamal’s death as the officers that were involved in his death:
Excerpting from a white paper on the subject of treatment facilities pressing charges against patients:
Thus, an individual whose symptoms create the possibility of danger to self or others that he or she has significant difficulty in controlling can be involuntarily hospitalized for the treatment of those symptoms. Punishing institutionalized individuals for behavior manifesting those symptoms would be cruel, counterproductive, and possibly illegal or unconstitutional. Yet all over the country, a disturbing pattern is emerging of just such punishment: the use of the police and the criminal justice system to control the behavior of patients.
It would not be surprising if the treatment provider betrayed their own patient by offering up a mens rea statement to law enforcement – because this is the kind of thing they do. This is the sequela of the anti-stigma movement, forensic and psychosocial psychiatry that has spent decades perniciously dissociating behavioral symptoms from the so-called mental illnesses that cause them.
About Locked Up for Three Decades: This is an example of the grotesque abuse that results from a Supreme Court that in ideological reverence to the philosophy of State Sovereignty, leaves it to states to make their own determinations in such critical matters in which they have already shown a disposition toward constitutional violations. It is also a product of the law’s ignorance or willful refusal to admit to the implications of “incompetency to stand trial” on criminal responsibility. This is why “competency restoration” to release a human being from the consciousness disorder of psychosis only to put them on trial and feign ignorance that the IST was not indicative of insanity is evidence of the strain of sociopathy that runs through the law and criminal justice.
note: The following link does not involve the criminal justice system, however, DJP has decided that the abuse reported in this story is “worthy” of being on this page:
*The following story illustrates why DueJusticeProject is opposed to the prevailing model of mental health courts.