The Need for Mental Health Courts
We are overdue for a conversation on the need for mental health courts. My friend, Hector Barajas, a U.S. Army veteran, developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his service in the 82nd Airborne during the Gulf War. He was honorably discharged, but his illness was not acknowledged. In the midst of a flashback, he fired a gun. Although no one was hurt, he was arrested, convicted of a felony, then deported for life--he thought his service made him a citizen, but was misinformed and paid a drastic price. Hector and the estimated 30,000 veterans like him who have been deported largely for crimes committed due to PTSD are the poster children for the need for mental health courts.
Mental Health Courts Are Needed
It has been shown, repeatedly, that prisons are not healthy environments for people with mental illness, but, unfortunately, our jails and prisons are often the largest treatment providers in the area. For example, the leading provider of mental health services in Indianapolis is the Marion County Jail. Even prosecutors in Indianapolis are frustrated with the lack of a mental health court--sick people belong in a hospital, not in a jail or prison which often worsens their symptoms.
In this video, I talk about the need for mental health courts as an alternative to regular court. It's the right thing to do for everyone involved. This isn't softness on crime, this is the true meaning of justice--where everyone involved sits down and comes up with a plan that restores a person's mental health rather than punishes an illness.
Oberg, B. (2016, May 20). The Need for Mental Health Courts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2016/05/the-need-for-mental-health-courts