This page was created to compile links to media stories documenting the abuse of SMI citizens 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 neuropsychiatric 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 SMIs and their behavioral consequences.
People with neuropsychiatric disorders, especially Schizophrenia are acutely vulnerable to institutional abuse in prisons and jails. People with this disorder can be impaired in their capacity to follow orders. Their behaviors can anger corrections staff. In Schizophrenia, a command hallucination (a neurological phenomenon – which is much more complex than simply hearing a voice and obeying it) can cause someone to violate or disobey a rule or an order. Inmates are punished, often harshly for these behaviors. More fundamentally, people are unjustly convicted for violent and non-violent acts produced by command hallucinations and other neuropsychiatric symptoms of SMI that deprive people of regulatory control.
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.
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 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.