“My attendants, like most others in such institutions, were incapable of understanding the operations of my mind, and what they could not understand they would seldom tolerate”
…They thought I was stubborn. In the strict sense of the word there is no such thing as a stubborn insane person. The truly stubborn men and women in the world are sane; and the fortunate prevalence of sanity may be approximately estimated by the preponderance of stubbornness in society at large. When one possessed of the power of recognizing his own errors continues to hold an unreasonable belief—that is stubbornness. But for a man bereft of reason to adhere to an idea which to him seems absolutely correct and true because he has been deprived of the means of detecting his error—that is not stubbornness. It is a symptom of his disease, and merits the indulgence of forbearance, if not genuine sympathy. Certainly the afflicted one deserves no punishment. – A Mind That Found Itself…..Clifford Beers
Unlawfulness and violence in particular as a symptom of brain dysfunction is always controversial. Human beings are conditioned to have difficulty accepting that biological defect or malfunction, rather than bad character or evil (as some type of “disembodied” or internal force controlling the mind and body) can be the cause for violent behaviors.
Research papers on almost any disorder affecting the brain will frequently insert the obligatory qualification that violence in association with the subject disorder is controversial. Whether the disorder is Autism, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), or seizure disorders, there will be skeptics and combatants against any association with violence (Although, in the case of these disorders, the violence may be paroxysmal rather than that which is indicative of pre-meditation…such as violence arising from sustained delusions…predatory or defensive aggression). Concessions will almost invariably be granted to skeptics: Individuals with medical or scientific credentials, stakeholders who are consumed with fighting stigma, and other operators who are driven by powerful prosecutorial proclivities. Violence is, of course, and rightfully, the most highly stigmatized type of human behavior. No one wants it to be beyond our control, even in the case of severe neurobehavioral illness. Yet, there will always be a price to pay when human beings try to assert dominance over science.
Prosecutorial instincts to punish all unlawful acts at all costs, the will to punish the philosophically innocent unjustly for fear of someone feigning “insanity” is an expression of violence itself.
There is no duty to punish. The intellectual conviction that there is a moral duty to punish is what forges carceral statues, destroys human beings, their families and the fabric of society. Where nonviolent crime is involved, restorative justice that rehabilitates the criminal mind leaves society better off. In the case of cerebral illness, punishing the product of serious brain dysfunction leaves society guilty of the most serious moral offense.
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 put them there. Across this nation, in every state and county, people with devastating neurobehavioral disorders are being held captive 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 the criminal adjudication 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 people being jailed unjustly and the subject of this page are not suffering from ‘mental health’ issues (a term that does not refer to biological conditions), they are afflicted with very serious cerebral illnesses that involve disordered states of consciousness, neurogenic dysmentation, anosognosia 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.
No Justice in the Tragic Death of Jamal Sutherland
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.
Maine hospitals turned away neuropsychiatric patients, had them arrested.
Horrific deaths, brutal treatment: Mental illness in America’s jails
State of PA: Man with neuropsychiatric illness held captive from hospitalization in jail for 4 years
Judge Hill rules that man with severe neuropsychiatric illness did not meet criteria for insanity (under criteria that applies to no one)
Man with SNI, punished, allegedly starved to death, buried on FDOC Property w/out family’s knowledge
Man with Neuropsychiatric Illness allowed to Starve to Death in Prison
State Hospital Mistakes Contribute to death of Jamycheal Mitchell
Guards watch as inmate with psychosis (consciousness disorder) inflicts mortal injuries upon herself
Locked Up for Three Decades Without a Trial
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.
Parent calls police for help, son taken to jail instead of hospital, dies in custody
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:
Hospital dumps consciousness-disordered woman – in the freezing cold
Police laugh as mentally ill jail inmate dies
*The following story illustrates why DueJusticeProject is opposed to the prevailing model of mental health courts.
Courtroom Suicide – Mental Health Court Drives Woman To Suicide
Man with SMI pinned down to scorching pavement – severely burned
MI prison gouges eyes out – denied treatment
Mentally Ill Held Captive From Treatment – Sheriffs Take Legal Action
Jail detainee in Pennsylvania County awaits 5 months for “treatment”
Lawsuit against Bristol County Jail – Mistreatment of Neuropsychiatric Disordered Inmates
FBI ensnares young man with SMI
Mentally Ill Prisoners Subjected to Medieval Treatment
MI man stunned with tazer multiple times
Multnomah County’s Jail is a Devastating Place for Mentally Ill
Mentally ill inmates need for medical care not met
Mentally Ill Man Strapped to Chair for 46 Hours, Dies
Guards drive inmate to suicide
Guards watch as inmate hangs himself
Father’s pain -Guards abuse mentally ill son
Mentally ill prisoner deprived of hydration
Mentally ill inmate scalded to death by guards
Unconstitutionally long waits for “competency evaluations”
Guard attacks, beats mentally ill prisoner
Jail Guards Convicted of Beating Mentally Ill Inmate to Death