Monday, December 15, 2008

Is county jail the right answer for teen suicide?

When an 18-year old girl attempts suicide, is county jail the right place to treat her?

Paul Knight at The Houston Press has an excellent story examining in detail a case where that's exactly what happened and closely tracks the young lady's struggles with depression since then and her journey through the justice system.


FleaStiff said...

Whatever the circumstances on the night of the arrest, she was jailed several months later for failing a drug test.
Then she was kicked out of the drug program for continuing to engage in cutting behavior.

Anonymous said...

What's happened to our State Hospitals?

Why are these people like this young lady being jailed instead of hospitalized? Are cops now doctors, too?

Anonymous said...

It has always struck me as disturbing that we would lock up people that are having mental issues, whether temporary or permanent.

How does this help them in any way. It destroys any hope for them, keeps them attaining the help they require, and puts them into an even more depressed state.

I cannot help but think that this 'rule' has to be rooted deeply in some arcane biblical rule of not committing suicide or some such other nonsense. Helping someone should be defined as actually placing them in a medical treatment facility and not county lockup.

Anonymous said...

When one reads about a case like this, one can only conclude that Texas as a 'society' has completely lost its soul.

This young woman is so beautiful - I can't help but think that there was some police officer who found the idea of having control over her life stimulating - hence the lockup. If you look at some recent police brutality cases against women - there's a certain kind that is directed against very attractive women.

It's horrible no matter who it's directed at. But I've noticed patterns were certain police officers and police departments seem to delight in doing this kind of thing to pretty young women of all races. I think it's a burgeoning women's rights issue - there's been a lot of false hoopla about increased violence among girls (not true for the last decade) to justify this type of thing.

I mean look at her - is it not obvious?

Anonymous said...

FleaStiff -she should never have been subjected to drug tests to begin with - she was suicidal, not hurting anyone but herself, and she was crying out for help. I admire her courage in allowing this coverage of her situation. I hope one day she will be a voice for women victims of police brutality.

Ron in Houston said...

That story shows the fallacy of the "incarcerate first and ask questions later" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Note that she was charged with resisting arrest and evading detention but there was nothing else she was arrested for. When are we going to start firing officers for these kind of charges? It's all about their authority in situations like this, not public safety.

Note that she had obvious physical injuries aver being tackled by the officers who decided to put her in jail instead of the hospital.

She ran out of her house in distress - a police officer tackles her and injures her. She was in her home - she hadn't committed any crime.

Anonymous said...

Of course, we should all remember that being a police officer is such a dangerous and stressful job. As a result, we need to let them occasionally blow off steam by beating young distraught beauties and incarcerating them for no reason. They deserve the fun and anyone who questions should be thrown in jail too, for not showing more respect to police officers.

Anonymous said...

According to the National Bureau of Labor statistics, police officers have as much likelihood of dying on the job as garbage collectors. Nearly every blue collar job is more dangerous than that of a police officer.

Just to clarify that my last comment was satiric.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps everyone's energy criticizing the police can be redirected to their state elected officials to allocate funding for the treatment of the mentally ill.

As a law enforcement officer in NE Texas, you should try and eal with local MHMR in the middle of the night or even better, after 5pm and weekends. They are a joke.

I agree jail is not the place for the mentally ill. Help us help them. Write your elected opfficial and demand change!

Anonymous said...

Positive for weed and gets 6 months in jail? Ridiculous! All the more reason to pay attention to your local politics and elect people like me to offices of influence at our local levels. We must invest in local politics so that we all can have a strong voice for real change.
Donations accepted via campaign website
Ft. Worth, Texas, $5 and $10 welcome!!

Anonymous said...

Prison is the "poor man's rehab/mental health system". My husband is diagnosed bi-polar and is an alcoholic. In April 2007 he was arrested in Lubbock for DUI. This incident caused his depression to spin out of control. The same week he drove to Clovis NM(nearby), bought two bottles of liquor, drove to a secluded spot, drank the alcohol until he became unconscious and tried to commit suicide. He left a sad note. He was found several hours later, in a coma. After several weeks in ICU, he returned home, only to be visited by two NM staties, who arrested him for DUI. He was found in the parked car. He has since done his prison time in TX and completed the required programs in TDCJ. He has worked hard in the past year understanding his mental illness and turning his life around. He will be released in Jan 09, But NM still hasn't settled this case. We have been trying to resolve it for almost two years. Matthew Chandler, Curry Co prosecutor has all but ignored every step of this. Sadly, he tried to get help through MHMR long before the DUI incidents and the services were inadequate to say the least. Now, instead of being able to start his life again, he has a looming legal issue for suffering from severe depression. There is something terribly wrong with how we view mental illness and what we set as consequences.

Anonymous said...

The Harris County Jail can make a sane person go crazy. It certainly is NO place for someone who already had mental problems - yet it is FULL of them. By the deputies own accounts to me, OVER 60% of the "GP" there should really be in mental facilities. The issue is made much worse due to the horrible "medical" system & delays in MHMRA availability. MANY of these deputies love working with inmates due to their own anger and control issues.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to know how many of the people in jail/MHMR/prison, etc. come from an upbringing where the parents did not put in the time to love, nuture and invest in their children. I personally am of the belief that our problems stem from irresponsible parenting in a larger degree than we realize. Just something I would like to have stats so that we could look at this as a possible root cause of many our woes, homeless, depressed, troubled individuals.

Anonymous said...

We have to criticize the police in situations like this because they are the ones who make the decision to bring someone to jail. If it's a misdemeanor - the make the decision to make the arrest.

They are responsible for lots of people going into the criminal justice system who don't belong there.

Maybe the police should ask to have this power taken away - and then they will be subject to less criticism.

Mike Katz said...

It is sad that so many comments demonize KIDS. Texas vastly under funds Children's Mental Health.

When it comes to Children’s Mental Health, we spend almost nothing on prevention, early intervention and Teacher education and training. We need kids in school to have health education that talks about Mental Wellness Mental Illness and Substance Abuse. We need additional treatment programs that address the needs of the kids and work with the families to get our kids to the highest level of recovery and follow them into the adult world.

If we do not make these investments, the kids will graduate into the Adult Mental Health system and far too many of them will not have healthy quality lives.

The ROI/ return on investment should be obvious. The literature and data prove that better Community Mental Health, which is comprehensive, of quality with measurable outcomes, outcomes that measure improved function and recovery are not just a matter of Kumbaya.

Let’s provide the opportunity to move these kids to healthy productive futures which is a win win for Texas.

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