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Police & Bipolar


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This reminds me of an absolutely heart-wrenching story I saw on one of the newsmagazine shows like 20/20. A black woman with schizophrenia was in solitary confinement in a prison. She was so insane, that she had beaten her head against the wall until it was down to the bone. They didn't show this, they just described it.

The most poignant part was when they showed her talking to a white male security guard. She kept begging him, saying, "PLease..you told me that you would come back and talk to me. Please. You promised." He just walked off.

There's a place in hell for people like that. The poor woman needed MEDICATION, not punishment. It breaks my heart, just remembering it. I pray that she is medicated now.

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yeah, i read about that when i was in chicago a couple of weeks ago and that just made me sick. the sick sick cynical police state world we live in, where a correctional institution would do that to a person. nope, no cruel and unusual punishment in this country. never.

shit like that seems to happen in chicago though everytime i'm there. the month before the main story getting everybody's outrage was this young boy who got beat up when these kids stole his prosthetic leg and used it to beat up him and his friend. way to go chicago . . . always knew there was something wrong with that city, even though that's wehre my dad's family comes from, and i generally like it compared to where i live. but still. maybe its just this country now, or just dumbfucks being dumbfucks being dumbfucks.

(worked myself up into a tizzy. damn)

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There is no easy answer to this. So sad.

- What can we expect the police to do? Most of the people they deal with are not normal. And even if they are, criminals are typically manipulative and decieving. Bipolars on the other hand, can often pull things together long enough to avoid treatment. The police don't have the facilities to give full service mental evaluations on people who are charged with leaving the scene of an accident. As long as she wasn't an immediate danger to herself or others the police had not authority to further detain her.

- What can a family do for someone jailed 2,000 miles away? Almost nothing. The person is going to be arrested booked and sent before a magistrated for disposition. Unless the family is standing at the jailhouse door, or hires a lawyer to do so, there is not way to intercept someone who is released.

I guess this comes back around to the fact that our laws are to restrictive on involuntary commitment. If US laws were more like the British law allowing someone who is obviously ill to be detained for treatment, more tragedies could be prevented. We also would have fewer people living on the streets, losing any hope having comfortable, safe lives.

a.m.

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This is just a horrid example of how very out of control our nation's police state has become. basically, our prisons are holding cells for mentally ill people. when they do actual assessments, they always discover that the majority of prison populations across the board are mentally ill.

so why are we warehousing people in jail who should be in the hospital?

and why are we allowing young ladies to be tortured and nearly die due to gross negligence and ignorance? don't these people have to take sensitivity and mental health awareness classes?

i guess not. more on this sad, sick world.

what freaks me out the most is that this could happen to any one of us. we're all so vunerable. what about the poor guy who got shot on the plane for making a disturbance who hadn't taken his medication?

when they put my dad in jail, they didn't give him his medication. he was bp1. he could have gotten psychotic on them very easily and they would have punished him for it, probably beating in his head or some other form of gross abuse.

why is this world so sick? people are sick.

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Police state?

Yeah, this story sucks and we had some crappy stuff involving cops and the disabled in Denver over the years, but this is more a problem of old school ignorance and stupidity than any new fangled fascism.

And Chicago has sucked forever.

Apparently it still sucks.

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On a happy note (since god knows we could use a happy note after the above), the police in some places but I forget where, have actual training in how to handle mental-illness-related incidents. They thought a few officers would be interested, but the actual demand for training was about ten times that.

It's not where it should be, but there are some good and improving situations.

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Good to see the cops want training. Probably would make life easier for them, too. I was around a guy who really lost it once. Was very scary, and wished I could do something to help, but we had to keep him out of the house and call the cops. Fortunately we could call the campus cops, who were known to be more helpful.

Another time, while driving, my car (I?) was attacked by a woman with the DT's. Again, I didn't know what to do, but I didn't want to hurt her. However, if she'd managed to bash her way through the windshield I would have had to do something. Very glad I didn't have to.

However, it seems fairly clear that the cops in this case should have called in a mental health professional of some sort. Of course, maybe this sort of thing happened all the time and they didn't have any available.

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so why are we warehousing people in jail who should be in the hospital?

Simple: there are over 2 million people in prison, and the cost of pharmaceuticals is already so crippling the health care system in the US that 1 in 7 cannot afford any health coverage whatsoever. Since, in a country that's all about band-aids for problems with no regard for solving the root causes, the primary treatment for mental illness is pharmaceuticals, well... We needed to shut down a lot of psych hospitals and then it turned out it's cheaper to keep these people in prison than to treat them.

This doesn't make any of this any less tragic. I'm just saying.

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Dear AirMarshall someone, say, bipolar, say is able to defer treatment by not manifesting their 'obvious' disabling condition. And the homeless- don't get me started on the homeless. What's this about British laws being better than in the States? NOt contentiously- what do they have going on, that we don't? What can we implement?

Maybe I should never ride my bicycle again so's the police can better deal with a victimized head injured case, not a victimized head injured case with a spanking new minor head injury, just asking for badness.

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This scares the shit out of me.

This could have easily been me. Here in the states and when I was traveling in Africa.

I've just been lucky and I know this.

I'm much much better than I was, though and so the chances that this could happen are probably pretty low. But it still scares me because shit happens. You can get the flu or an anxiety attack or a migraine or lose your meds somewhere for a couple days.

I think the things that we can do individually for ourselves is to carry medical information that clearly states, basically, what our issue is and who to call and why in a very clear and easily accessible place in your wallet- otherwise a medic alert.

I don't know if there is a solution other than education.

I really think that an extra five minutes may have prevented this.

the mother was trying to call repeatedly. No one would talk to the girl.

What should the police do?

You shouldn't sacrifice the victim in order to punish the guilty. Just because some people fake mental illness or other problems, it does not mean that all do. If the officers are so detached, they need to be retrained. Oh, no. That would cost so much money and time and blah blah blah.

Who gives a shit.

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  • 2 months later...

I have been following the Eilman case. Everybody's got a different slant. The mental health advocates say the police should have listened to Ms. Eilman. The law enforcement defenders say it's not the job of the cops to babysit. The critics of the city bureacracy point to the Eilman case as another example of government ineptitude. Of course, the white supremicists chimed in becaus a pretty little white girl got raped and (nearly) killed by a black gangbanger from the projects. That drives 'em berzerk!

I think it the police at a bare minimum should have been able to recognize enough signs of mental illness to hold this young woman in protective custody. I've known several people with bipolarity, including two of my ex-girlfriends. One they swing into the manic phase they simply cannot look out for themselves. I have personally had to extract two different bipolar sufferers from life-threatening situations.

One of my ex-girlfriends, I discovered, went off the deep end after I left her. Last person you'd expect to do so, but I found out she was working as a prostitutel. Not only that, she had a lunatic john who was stalking her and threatening her life. She had been raped several times as well. I pulled her out of her studio apartment in Boston, kept an eye on her at my place, made sure she got the medical care she needed. Then I brought her back to her parents in NH. I lost track of her shortly after. A decade later I tried to find her. I was a little too late. A few months earlier she committed suicide by jumping off a ferry boat en route to Seattle from Victoria.

When I read about Eilman, I couldn't believe how ignorant the cops could be to send a woman in her condition into the streets of Chicago's south side.

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What's this about British laws being better than in the States? NOt contentiously- what do they have going on, that we don't? What can we implement?

AFAIK, we have nothing special here. Prisoners can be referred by the police for treatment, but guess what? The police aren't trained psychiatrists, so they can't make that call. We got exactly the same problems here.

(edited by Maddy to correct the broken [ i ] italics [ /i ] tag)

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There IS a difference between the UK laws and US laws. While I have no idea whether it would have made any difference in this woman's case, I think that it sets a different tone and perhaps helps people from ending up so bad.

Without tracking down quotes the UK laws allow involuntary committement if the person is a danger to himself or others or is unable to care for themselves.

Each US state has different laws but generally they allow committment only if a person is an immediate danger to themselves or others. It can be obvious someone needs treatment, but they can refuse, and as long as they aren't planning to kill someone, that's ok.

a.m.

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It is so sad. And being locked up is my worst fear. Was close to getting on a plane to Europe, with a UK work permit I never ended up using, before I ended in the nuthouse the first time. Could have easily been prison. Why do people with a MI dx have to go to jail at all before trial is what I want to know? It is not fair.

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It is so sad. And being locked up is my worst fear. Was close to getting on a plane to Europe, with a UK work permit I never ended up using, before I ended in the nuthouse the first time. Could have easily been prison. Why do people with a MI dx have to go to jail at all before trial is what I want to know? It is not fair.

US law is generally that mental illness is no defense for a crime unless the person is unable to tell right from wrong. So the plea must be either Guilty, Not Guilty or Not Guilty by reason of insanity.

UK, law allows for a different plea, Guilty but Insane.

Still, the only other point of diversion in the US would be by prosecutorial discretion. However as stated before, the judicial system is not disposed to let people off if they are less than obviously delusional.

a.m.

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Without tracking down quotes the UK laws allow involuntary committement if the person is a danger to himself or others or is unable to care for themselves.

Each US state has different laws but generally they allow committment only if a person is an immediate danger to themselves or others.

What's the difference, AM? Apart from not being able to care for themselves? In any event, the UK system needs at least two doctors and a social worker (or something like that) before someone can be 'sectioned' (commiteted under Section whatever of the Mental Health Act). In the prison situation, it would have made fuck all difference.

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What's the difference, AM? Apart from not being able to care for themselves? In any event, the UK system needs at least two doctors and a social worker (or something like that) before someone can be 'sectioned' (commiteted under Section whatever of the Mental Health Act).
Sigh. The difference is that the UK has a lower threshold for committment (which I think is a good thing). Here are quotes from the pertinent criteria from the UK and from my state:

UK Mental Health Act of 1983

[May have compulsory admission]

- Whether the patient is suffering from mental disorder within the meaning of section 1 of the Act; and if so,

- Whether the mental disorder is sufficiently serious to need further assessment and/or medical treatment in hospital; and

- Whether the patient needs to be compulsorily admitted under the Act in the interests of his or her own health or safety, and/or for the protection of other

people. http://www.section12agwsha.nhs.uk/guidanceforgps2.pdf

Maryland state law:

[The Hearing Officer shall] Order the release of the individual from the facility unless the record demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that at the time of the hearing each of the following elements exist as to the individual whose involuntary admission is sought:

(i) The individual has a mental disorder;

(ii) The individual needs in-patient care or treatment;

(iii) The individual presents a danger to the life or safety of the individual or of others;

(iv) The individual is unable or unwilling to be voluntarily admitted to the facility;

(v) There is no available less restrictive form of intervention that is consistent with the welfare and safety of the individual;... http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cphl/acts/md_10_632.htm

So, in the UK, the lowest standard to be sectioned is "needs further evaluation" and it "is in the interests of his own health".

The lowest standard in my state is that "The individual presents a danger to the life or safety of the individual or of others".

Clearly the UK has a much lower bar, oriented towards getting the individual treatment, rather than empasizing personal rights to refuse treatment and be stark raving mad.

In the prison situation, it would have made fuck all difference.
If you read my post you would see that I fuck all stated:
While I have no idea whether it would have made any difference in this woman's case.

a.m.

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In the prison situation, it would have made fuck all difference.

If you read my post you would see that I fuck all stated:

While I have no idea whether it would have made any difference in this woman's case.
a.m.

It's a fair cop, guv'nor. I'll come quietly. The truth is that I suspect our system works no better than yours, in practice.

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Everything here is broken now. Society is gradually unravelling, the schools system is falling apart, the health service is creaking at the seams and delivering less year on year. The government are control freaks: civil liberties are under threat, the justice system is being undermined and we are under constant surveillance - on average, every member of the population is captured on CCTV 300 times a day.

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