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.
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 neuropsychiatric 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 neuropsychiatric 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.
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.