Transcending Life Community Lighthouse

Providing a light of Hope to the least of these- Matthew 25:31-46    

 

My son's Journey through the FAILED Mental Health System

That landed him in JAIL, in Solitary Confinement

(click "News & Events" upper left to read his story)

 

LATEST NEWS!
On December 13, 2016  President Obama Signed the 21st Century Cures Act into Law.  With regard to MENTAL HEALTH, the bill aims to strengthen the enforcement of the mental health parity law, which requires insurers to cover mental illness as they would treatment of other diseases.

 

 “Through congressional hearings and an in-depth investigation, we discovered the fatal disconnect between 112 federal agencies assigned to treat the mentally ill. We exposed a $130 billion dollar investment wasted on feel-good fads that have done little to treat the ill as the rates of homelessness, incarceration, suicide and drug overdose deaths soar. We came together, across party lines, went to work, and while many doubted we would make it this far - here we are".

 ~ Republican, Rep. Tim Murphy  

"Individuals with mental health and substance use conditions have suffered horrible abuses, involving neglect, abuse, and sometimes even death, especially in jails and prisons and in the former drunk tanks and mental hospitals. Today, these abuses continue with the routine shackling of people in custody, notwithstanding great psychological distress to people in crisis, the rationing of care to children in schools and the over-incarceration and over-seclusion of people with mental health conditions, not to speak of the lack of effective treatment inherent in an underfunded system of care.

 

Since Americans care deeply about individual rights, both the states and the federal government have a responsibility to serve and protect vulnerable individuals to the fullest extent possible. The federal government should put new efforts into enforcing laws that respond to the abuses of today and make available private rights of action so individuals and protection and advocacy organizations can sue to enforce individual rights as well".  ~  The Mental Health America

 

The stigma, shame, and many misconceptions about mental illness
are enormous barriers to many getting the help they 
desperately need.

 

(Please click "Our Projects" to the left for more information)

How Mental Health Impacts Jail Populations

Jails and Prisons have become the NEW

Mental Health Institutions, but they are not equipped to treat the mentally ill. 

 A  former Executive Director of the National Sheriffs Association  has observd that , “in many jurisdictions in the nation, the county’s jails hold more people with severe psychiatric illnesses than any psychiatric facility in the county.”  

 Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning says,     "We have to change our behavior to try to change their behavior".  The goal is and has always been to identify those in crisis, get them the appropriate intervention while they are incarcerated and have a plan for their release that reduces recidivism.  

Trapped:

Mental Illness

in America's Prisons

What is Solitary Confinement?

Solitary confinement of prisoners goes by a number of names—isolation, SHU (special housing units), administrative segregation, supermax prisons, the hole, MCU (management control units), CMU (communications management units), MHU (mental health units), STGMU (security threat group management units), voluntary or involuntary protective custody, special needs units, or permanent lockdown.  

 

Although solitary confinement conditions vary from state to state and among correctional facilities, systematic policies and conditions include:

 

  • Confinement behind a solid steel door for 22 to 24 hours a day
  • Severely limited contact with other human beings
  • Infrequent phone calls and rare non-contact family visits
  • Extremely limited access to rehabilitative or educational programming
  • Grossly inadequate medical and mental health treatment
  • Restricted reading material and personal property
  • Physical torture such as hog-tying, restraint chairs, forced cell extraction 
  • “No-touch torture,” such as sensory deprivation, permanent bright lighting, extreme temperatures, and forced insomnia
  • Chemical torture, such as stun grenades and stun guns 
  • Sexual intimidation and other forms of brutality and humiliation

CONDITIONS of CONFINEMENT 

Holding seriously mentally ill individuals in jails and in Solitary Confinement 22-23 hours a day may aggravate their psychiatric symptoms. Sensory isolation will often aggravate auditory hallucinations. Furthermore, the lack of antidepressants or antipsychotic medications, or a change in such medications can worsen psychiatric symptoms.
 

• The potential for de-compensation (the deterioration of existing psychological defenses in a patient already exhibiting pathological behavior) is increased in a stressful environment. When de-compensation occurs a crisis situation can result that will then escalate the level and need for care and treatment.
 

• The current level of care in the MHU should be improved. A study should be conducted to identify the best ways to improve the current level of care in the MHU by experts in the field. The study should also examine ways to improve the physical condition of the units.
 

• Correctional Facilities should contract with facilities for priority placement of inmates who need treatment pursuant to the Mental Health Procedures Act.

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© Light House

1/7/2015

Reported by Samantha Melamed:

(Philadelphia Inquirer) 

 

"Deal aims to end solitary confinement for seriously mentally ill prisoners in Pa."

 

Click here to read

PLEASE NOTE:  Before my son was arrested on September 2, 2011, he voluntarily commited himself on August 22, 2011 to Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment, and on August 24th, they called me to tell me they were going to send him to jail if I didn't come get him.  I rushed to pick him up on Aug 24th...and later found out they gave him Haldol.  After taking Haldol he began to demonstrate defensive, impulsive, assaultive behavior.  I brought him to several different places that would not admit him because he has a medical condition  (a colostomy), so finally on Aug 27th he voluntarily commited himself to Jefferson hospital, and they did the same thing Belmont did, kept him for 2 days and released him to me on Aug 29th.  Four dayslater, on September 2, 2011 he was arrested...now he's a criminal!  ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED!

 

Nobody should be punished for behavior that arose out of a common treatable mental health condition.  It is not a crime to have a mental illness so why are the mentally ill criminalized?

 

Haldol is the brand name for Haloperidol, it is an antipsychotic medicine.   It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain. haldol is good for treating agitation, aggressive outbursts and mania, but can also have some adverse effects, such as defensive impulsive assaultive behavior.

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TLC Lighthouse

1400 S Hanson St

Philadelphia, PA 19143

 

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