The employees knew this would happen again, and they were right. Three years later, Spriestersbach was jailed for trespassing, this time for sleeping on a middle school property. Again he called himself Castleberry, refused treatment and kept to himself. Again he was declared 406, ineligible to proceed, and this time jailed for seven months, before being transferred to HSH for the requisite 120 days. When he was released on January 18, 2013, Spreestersbach thus remained a perfect public-policy problem: clear enough to live on his own; sufficient independent thought to refuse treatment; And, though not without their quirks, certainly non-confrontational.
Then in 2017, while sitting in line outside the River of Life mission, Spreestersbach encountered another police officer. The cycle was going as expected – a slow-paced game of hot potatoes between police, courts, prisons and hospitals. But this time, Spreesterbach’s nickname “Castleberry” turned out to be a strange source of error – first created by the police and then complicated by the courts and the state hospital system and even his own lawyers – that Spreesterbach into an entirely different bureaucratic wormhole. He commanded and consumed the next two and a half years of his life.
debate in america How to best help homeless people with mental illness has remained largely unresolved for decades, ever since the closure and shrinking of massive state mental hospitals in the mid-20th century made prisons and prisons one of the nation’s largest. has been converted into a real mental-health center. , In 1955, there were more than 550,000 state and county psychiatric beds in the United States; As of 2017, the number of beds including private hospitals and other inpatient facilities such as 24-hour treatment centers was around 170,000.
Disruption is widely seen as the great original sin of our current mental-health crisis—not because institutions were the right idea, but because it was believed that drugs could take their place. In fact, medication, while a miracle for the management of many mental-health conditions, has failed to alter outcomes for people with severe mental illness (while the more drastic external symptoms of schizophrenia, for example, may be muffled with antipsychotic medication). However, many patients suffer from physical and cognitive side effects, and the original condition is usually not reversible). In retrospect, it seemed unrealistic to expect that prescriptions would solve the problem. Serious mental illness is the farthest thing from cookie-cutter status: a diagnosis of schizophrenia means different symptoms for different patients, and no patient responds to medication in exactly the same way.
In recent years, the debate over what to do with the mentally ill seems to be set at two extremes. Wrongfully committed – those whose relatively benign behaviors (like, say, sleeping outside) become criminal when no one else is willing to take them. These people seem almost destined to return to the hospital, even though, in the words of a former staff member at HSH, they “do not really present an imminent danger to themselves or others.” They fall asleep on someone’s lawn, or stop taking their prescribed medications and compensate for them, or start taking recreational drugs that trigger their mental illness. Their problems are less mental than social. “Sometimes people come because they lack housing, they don’t have finances, they don’t have a support network, they don’t have insurance.” If they weren’t homeless, they wouldn’t need to live there.
Then there are serious cases which, due to lack of patient options, one day turn into violence, harming innocent people. New York City, despite the coercive treatment law known as the Center’s Law, has made news this year with two tragic cases: Michelle Go, fatally pushed onto a subway track, and Christina Yuna Lee, homemaker. Chased and put to death. While the killings bear traces of anti-Asian violence, the perpetrators also each suffered from serious mental illness and had been cycling through the facilities for years. Hawaii had a tragedy of its own this year—the case of Michael Armstrong, who murdered another mentally ill man, Linda Johnson, the day after Valentine’s Day, Steps from the entrance of Kapoli Police Station. Armstrong, his father told reporters, was on conditional release — an option to discharge patients acquitted by insanity — for 15 years, living in a series of group homes, yet always committing more serious crimes. and commit more serious offences. The most terrifying events attract attention for obvious reasons, although they are by no means exclusive. A 2019 report for the federal Department of Health and Human Services indicated that an estimated One in five Americans suffers from some form of mental illness, with only 4 percent of community violence being caused by psychosis.