Mentally Ill Son Incarcerated: One Reader’s Story

Stories about mentally ill offenders are generally not of a positive nature. Typically, the stories are focused on the disturbing prison conditions often faced by mentally ill offenders increasingly being housed in jails and prisons.

Below is one reader’s story.

“Hi, my son has been suffering from schizophrenia for the past 5 years. In Oct. of 2011 he was baker acted into a local hospital, he refused to take his med ‘s and wanted to be placed where people go that nobody wants any more. A petition was filed, a hearing scheduled to be involuntarily committed to the Florida state hospital. The day before the hearing, he was discharged, the person who he lived with took him to the SSI office and became his payee. the next day she wanted the key to the house back, when my son would not give it to her, she and her boyfriend beat my son in the eye with a baseball bat, causing an Orbital floor fracture. the people who beat him were arrested, the boy plead no contest, the girl was bailed out. she filed a restraining order and the judge granted it because my son could not get a lawyer, she was his payee and did not give him his money, legal aid wouldn ‘t do anything for him because he didn ‘t file the restraining order, she did. two months later our son started to beat up his father, who is also my husband because he went to check on him in his camper, the camper where our son was beat with the baseball bat. the sheriff came, our son ran. the next day, I called the sheriff, who came and arrested my son. I was helping the sheriff and my son bite me. I told the sheriff my son needed to go to the hospital, he was not himself. I wrote letters to the judge and lawyers, the domestic violence case involving his father was dropped and my son was placed on probation for resisting arrest and biting me. In march of 2012 I baker acted my son because he needed help and would not go to the hospital. Another petition was filed, a hearing scheduled for involuntarily placement in the Florida state hospital, a continuance for five days was filed at 9 in the morning before the hearing, at 2 pm that same day, he was discharged. the doctor wrote his prescription for seroquel, not seroquel XR and medicaid would not pay for it. It took a week to get it straightened out. In may his sister walked into his camper while he was sleeping and he pushed her, later that day I called the sheriff because my son was trying to run threw the sliding glass door. my son appeared normal when the sheriff showed up, my son told him about his sister trying to steal from him, the sheriff wouldn ‘t do anything. I told his sister I was going to the court house to file another baker act, but while I was in town, she called the sheriff, who came later that night, i told the sheriff all about the baker act, two hearings and not being committed. he did not care, he was arresting my son.if my son wanted to go to the state hospital he could tell them when he got to the jail, my son pounded his head so hard into the sheriff ‘s car it left a dent and now my son is sitting in the bay county Florida jail and one of his charges is criminal mischief more than 1,000. as you most likely already know, a person must be a danger to themselves or others to be involuntary placed (baker acted) in a hospital.”

Mental health advocate and best selling author of the book “Crazy,” Pete Earley, receives letters from family members struggling with similar mental health issues.  

A few other websites document these stories, the most comprehensive among them is Solitary Watch.

It is important to document these stories. If you know of others don’t hesitate to send your story.