A real miscarriage of justice occurred last year in 2006. A 75-year-old grandmother, with a master's degree in English, was held in the Angelina County jail for over a year. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia for many years of her lifetime. After six months of confinement, she was evaluated, and found to be incompetent — sent to Rusk State Hospital for two months and returned to jail as competent to stand trial. Her case didn't come up for three months — and you guessed it — she was incompetent again. Treatment for the mentally ill in our jails is not adequate, and understandably so. The cost of incarceration is far greater than treatment.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
75-year old mentally ill grandmother stranded, incompetent in Lufkin jail most of 2006
I've been writing for some time about the need for treatment resources for mentally ill county jail inmates who've been declared incompetent to stand trial. Mentally ill people accused of crimes can wait many months for state hospital beds to open up, and local community MHMR centers don't provide competency restoration services. From the Lufkin Daily News, a letter to the editor gives a horrific example of how these problems play out on the ground: