Fighting to Change an Unjust and Corrupt Judicial System By Timothy J. Jones
Endless days and sleepless nights, I wonder aloud, “Is our current Judicial System Equipped as it should to; Establish and enforce, Guidelines and practices for persons with complex mental health disabilities?
On one hand, I am very much in favor of Reforming certain unjust aspects of our current unbalanced judicial system and redefining and voiding our nations unsavory practices of mass incarceration.
The thirteenth amendment is supposed to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude. “Except as punishment for a crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted.” There are thousands of individuals currently in this nations prison system who have been declared “SMI” (Seriously mentally ill) who have been wrongfully shuffled into prison. There are safeguards in our society set in place to prevent mayhem and constant wrong doing; those safe guards include consequences such as involuntary incarceration and in some cases the death penalty is imposed as a supposed tool of justice. In some cases, persons with disabilities are unjustly held to answer for crimes in which they should not have been sent to prison for and instead should’ve received mental health services as an alternative.
Judicial Punishments involving defendants facing the death penalty are supposed to be reserved for societies worst offenders. The flip side of the coin is that the clear majority of wrongfully imposed convictions involve Intellectually Disabled Defendants. Intellectually disabled defendants are extremely vulnerable to being wrongfully convicted. The U.S. Supreme court has acknowledged that such defendants may be less able to give meaningful assistance to their legal counsel. And often these individuals are railroaded by the prosecutor and in some cases when these defendants are financially disadvantaged and are unable to afford private counsel and are not able to obtain adequate legal defense teams and are forced to rely on court appointed counsel. In most cases these defense attorneys are over worked and are only looking to close out cases as fast as possible and not put forth a meaningful effort.
When individuals with mental disabilities enter the prison system they sometimes do not receive adequate mental health screenings and evaluations, and because of this do not receive adequate mental health care and rehabilitative services. While they are incarcerated and upon their release find themselves with no one to turn to who understands: The level of care required to help them stay afloat and away from troubling situations that may lead to their unjust re arrest. The U.S. system is a constant revolving door and many of the nation’s prison population does not receive adequate rehabilitative and transitional services. Once they are returned to the community often revert to criminal Behavioristic traits that lead to their unjust re arrest and incarceration.
If society is unable to abolish prisons then we must work at finding reasonable solutions that may help to facilitate adequate rehabilitative and transformative services for individuals with complex mental health disabilities by raising the following concerns with our elected state representatives and only those that have proven to be worthy of the communities’ trust.
- We must pin point correctly identify the deficiencies that concern the rehabilitative services offered to individuals incarcerated.
- Explore mental health treatment options that are available to the outside community and work to implement similar treatment options inside prisons.
- Examine local correctional mental health care services, i.e. Pre-Re-entry services
- Examine current practices in place concerning initial mental health evaluations along with transitional mental health care screening services.
The vast increase in our nations prison population was spurred by the 1994 violent crime control and law enforcement act signed by Former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Although he had good intentions the bill was abused by power hungry politicians looking to make a name for themselves along with corrupt prosecutors and bent cops.
Many power-hungry politicians are willing to make false promises to the public at large, just to gain a prized seat in congress and often join forces with other bent politicians looking to make a fast dollar by promoting bills that encourage mass warehousing and mass incarceration instead of Rehabilitative programs.
The practice of accepting the false gospel of individuals running for seats of power. Must be ended since the outlandish garbage spoken by power hungry politicians has always proven to lack true substance and actual nourishment for the people of the lower class.
The practice of incarcerating persons with mental disabilities and sending them off to prison is very much unconstitutional and judges along with prosecutors that choose to engage in such unjust practices should be publicly shamed.
We as American citizens are given the right to vote and it is up to us to find the shady politicians and run them out of office if they do not respect the people and serve the people to the best of their ability then; they should be thrown out and replaced. If you wish to help bring about a positive change in your community you must never let anyone silence your voice.