Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Colorado Lawsuit

I was reading the paper yesterday and I came across this article about a lawsuit inmates made about being in jail and not knowing when they are going to get medication or if they are going to get a mental evaluation so they can use the insanity defense or be incompetent to stand trial. They can wait two months or more when they could make a deal and get out or go to trial. "All people accused of a crime are guaranteed the right to understand the charges against them and participate in their own defense. Those with mental illnesses sometimes require treatment before they meet that level of competency." They have a right even if there are budget cuts. It is a good thing that this was passed. “The hardest thing about the wait is you’re not getting any help” One reason is: “it’s dangerous to sit in jail.” It sounds different than when I was mentally ill and in jail.
When I was there mentally ill for seven months before I was sent to the State Hospital, it was the hardest being there. The psychiatrist told me she was not going to give me medication because she did not like me. This was in the late eighties. There was not that many mentally ill at that time. When I was on medication and went to the county jail, I enjoyed the status that being mentally ill brought me. No one bothered me or my stuff. I know it is different nowadays. "A court compromise announced Monday means hundreds of mentally ill people accused of crimes in Colorado each year could spend less time waiting for state doctors to determine whether they're ready for trial and to provide treatment if they're not." It is the first time in the nation that this has been done.
There are a lot more mentally ill in jail than at that time. I have not been back to jail since that time so I only know what I read. It sounds like this lawsuit brought a good result. They do not have to wait being mentally ill in jail that long. When I was mentally ill for those seven months it was hard. Normally I like visits when I was in jail. Although when I was ill and they came and visited me I never talked. Could not even understand why they were there and it was my birthday. This lawsuit should help a lot of mentally ill people waiting in jail.

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