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Conference tackles mental health issues

Treatment or incarceration

April 19, 2013

It was a chance to lay the issues out from all sides Thursday afternoon....

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(10)

dubedit

Apr-19-13 8:43 AM

Newtown, Gabby Giffords' shooting ... the jerks in Washington and the pinko-liberal know-nothing anti-gun nuts keep pushing gun control when what we need is people control and reopened, restaffed state hospitals.

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fivealive

Apr-19-13 9:26 AM

What we need is more prevention and reasonable opportunities for families to get their children help early on. The way the mental health and insurance systems currently work, the only way to get significant help is to wait until the child/person does something criminal in nature. If help were available earlier on, we might not need to have this discussion about a criminal system overloaded with mental health patients.

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MTOMTO

Apr-19-13 10:38 AM

These people don't belong in jail? They must have done something to get there.

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fivealive

Apr-19-13 10:53 AM

They do belong in jail at this point, in the sense that they have done something criminal. However, the question is whether or not they would have become "criminal" if they had had proper mental health care at an earlier stage.

While they have committed crimes and likely need to be in lockdown facilities, jails are not designed or equipped to deal with mental health issues. Many of these folks can be safely returned to society IF they get the proper mental health care. Would you rather pay to keep them in jail where they get no better and won't become productive members of society OR get them into mental health facilities where they can get help and function in society?

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MTOMTO

Apr-19-13 4:11 PM

That depends on what the type and severity of the crime that put them in there.

Would you classify addiction to illegal drugs a crime or a mental illness? They have AA and NA meetings in the jail already.

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fivealive

Apr-19-13 4:26 PM

Addiction is a mental health issue. Selling drugs is a criminal issue, stemming from the mental health issue. So what do you do? Lock them up in jail for the criminal activity while not adequately treating the mental health issue, thereby guaranteeing they will return to criminal activity OR do you place them in a lockdown mental health facility better equipped to deal with the root of the criminal problem? One has a better chance of rehabilitating the person than the other.

I am not excusing criminal behavior because of the mental illness. I am saying that there is a more effective way to deal with it than just locking them up so the rest of us feel they have had their fair punishment. If they are ill enough to be criminal, they need to be locked up but in a mental health facility that can deal with them effectively.

AND...before we even get to this discussion, the entire mental health system needs fixed so that help is available before things get to the criminal level.

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MTOMTO

Apr-19-13 4:34 PM

"OR do you place them in a lockdown mental health facility better equipped to deal with the root of the criminal problem?"

One problem being that the State Hospital must allow self admittance. Have you seen a sentence to a "lockdown mental health facility" lately? I don't think that there is one. Even the voluntary ones have a waiting list, truct me on that one.

Most sentencing that I read does require treatment - post incarceration. Obviously that isn't working well due to the recidivism rates. I would think that drying out in jail and being faced with the cold hard facts may help some repeat offenders realize that they need help?

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MTOMTO

Apr-19-13 4:36 PM

"I am saying that there is a more effective way to deal with it than just locking them up so the rest of us feel they have had their fair punishment."

Neither am I, but the actions that got them there need to be weighed based on tyype and severity of crime. Isn't that why we have senencing guidelines and mandatory minimums?

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MTOMTO

Apr-19-13 4:40 PM

"AND...before we even get to this discussion, the entire mental health system needs fixed so that help is available before things get to the criminal level."

Absolute agreement there! The reform should begin with the very facilities that diagnose (pigeon hole) and over-prescribe to the young. This can be the beginning of the addiction process itself. Seen it.

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fivealive

Apr-19-13 5:14 PM

Oh, you are preaching to the choir on the waiting lists for mental health facilities. And they do have to allow voluntary admissions, which is tricky because those same folks often voluntarily check out.

I don't know the answer, MTOMTO. I agree with you that there should be punishment for the criminal activity. But, in the case of the mentally ill, it needs to be balanced with effective treatment. Forcing the mentally ill to be locked up is a slippery slope, of sorts, but once they have hit the point of criminal violations it is very likely a lockdown facility is their best chance.

The mentally ill do have rights and I am not at all advocating locking them all up. But the jails are not meant to handle mental illness.

Again, the best thing to avoid the whole criminal issue is early interventions that are effective, available and affordable.

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