It is never too late to fix a broken system; it is never too late even when it has been broken for generations.
Sandy Hook current events have brought this national disaster into mainstream headlines with the government calling for unprovable scientific research, while it ignores human rights to assist those in need. Instead the incarceration nation feeds on the disease. Governors, senators, and state supreme courts alike have called for action, but the mandated judicial action, such as the Florida Supreme Court’s Mental Heath Final Report, November 7, 2007 seems to be a band-aid for the judicial system where the courts have to vie for funds by complying with judicial mandates for grants for mental health courts, but it ignores the need for mental health care except for a crucial time when the Florida jails were too full in 2005, and Hadi [DCF] was fined for not complying with court orders to find beds. There was no room at the inn.
A half century ago Kennedy’s death buried the public law he had just passed for community centers to provide care when needed or when asked for. What happened? Congress did not fund the bill, causing Deinstitutionalization. Political pundits have just been talking about Reinstitutionalization ever since, for example, the 2000, Impact of the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System; “Human Rights at Home: Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons and Jails” (2009)(webcast)(text); Senator Web (VA) is an advocate for reform in his initiatives. But what has come of it? The current events and the attached stereotypical stigma are the results of inaction. Mental illness is a disease, as cancer is a disease. The brain is part of the body, affected as other parts of the body are affected from disease. Not all mentally ill are violent; rather that is the exception, not the rule. Stereotyping is prejudice, no matter where it is applied. Using generalizations to lay blame is conviction without proof. Just as the national government dangerously embarks on its first mandate to discover DNA markers to lay claim to reason for crime, it has not addressed its prevention, “services and support” as one counterpart has, Colorado. Ironically, or in tribute to his brother, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy advocated for mental health reform until his passing, but that only applied to one other counterpart, Massachusetts. Where does it start … the chicken or the egg? Mental illness starts, predominantly in young adult males. How can there be a history before it begins? Where is the adequate preventative care? Nowhere! Why? When the interests lobby for support of prisons for profit, it could deflate any funds for preventative care. See WebMD’s, Sentenced to Treatment (2004) and Sharon Begley’s, Reuters article U.S. mentally ill and their families face barriers to care (December 29, 2012). Before, in-between, and after many publications and ongoing news report barriers to mental health care, some violent, but mostly non-violent crime has been committed because there is no room at the inn.
According to the Judiciary, there are 3.3 million mentally ill in prison (2009) (beginning of podcast) and according to two undated publications there are around 100 to 150 TOTAL mental health courts in the United States. This rating would be from the first started in Broward County in 1984 and ongoing. It is slower than the rate of DNA exonerations which account for 300 or more exonerated wrongly convicted innocent people.
See the an end portion of the text of Hearings Webcasts for the 111th Congress at
111th Congress: Published Judiciary Committee Transcripts
STATEMENT OF DAVID L. FULLER, OUTREACH AND HOUSING COORDINATOR