UPDATE FROM GOFUNDME: When Jason was first indicted, I lost my faith in the system. I felt he was tied up in procedure. Despite the fact everyone knew he needed help, his overall care (more comprehensive than just psychiatry) was ignored. My faith was restored when I was able to get him out.
Well, yesterday, despite doing everything the courts asked. Despite cooperating and adhering to the conditions of his bond, despite actively seeking treatment while out, despite having a number of very IMPORTANT APPOINTMENTS CRITICAL TO ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS OF WHY ALL OF THIS HAPPENED, HIS BOND WAS REVOKED.
When my husband was arrested in November and taken to the emergency room of a local hospital, I was grateful. They stabalized a thyroid crisis he was having and then transferred him to a psychiatric facility where he was restored, diagnosed, treated/medicated and then released.
But because of the manner in which he was admitted, he was released into police custody. That meant they sent him to jail. It was obvious to EVERYONE, including the arresting officers, that jail probably wasn’t where he belonged, but due to procedure, that’s where he ended up.
Still with an unresolved thyroid issue and unspecified PTSD, while he was given some care, it ignored the impact his service as a veteran had on what is going on.
Once in jail, he was arraigned and bond was set. It was very high and was an amount I could not afford but after a month of not receiving adequate healthcare in jail, friends, family and I (yes, it was A COLLECTIVE EFFORT BY PEOPLE WILLING TO VOUCH FOR JASON AND HIS CHARACTER), I was able to bond Jason out.
Within the next business day, he was in the VA getting registered. Within a few days after that, he was assigned a doctor. He was assessed and they determined he had many issues that needed to be looked at — one of which was the possibility that he has a traumatic brain injury since he was blown up in Iraq.
Since being out on bond, we’ve been to MULTIPLE doctor’s appointments, with the most important of those appointments being in the next two weeks.
On Monday, Jason has a follow-up with VA mental health.
On Tuesday, Jason has his initial VA traumatic brain injury screening.
On Thursday, he has a very important doctor’s appointment that will help determine how much disability and pension the VA will give him and his family. God knows we need this money since Jason hasn’t worked since November.
In the coming weeks, he’s scheduled for multiple labs and multiple studies to determine what is wrong with his thyroid.
Everyone OUTSIDE the court system that has been involved in Jason’s care has said that it’s likely all of these things are related. In fact, his VA psychiatrist said it was very important to diagnose and treat his STILL UNDIAGNOSED THYROID PROBLEM so that they can better help him with the psychosis and PTSD. And God knows, we need to know if Jason has a traumatic brain injury.
The VA was the first place we went to that understood THE ENTIRE PICTURE. But, what frustrates me is that NO ONE DID THE RIGHT THING LEADING UP to this entire situation. After the fact, they are doing too much through the legal system, but still not enough to get him adequate care.
They are still ignoring the impact his service had on his psychiatric issues. They are still ignoring a serious thyroid issues that in likely TRIGGERED the psychosis. They completely ignored the fact that he was actively getting treated through the VA.
It’s all in the name of public safety. It’s safer for the person we’re afraid of to be locked up. But that’s total bullshit. People who intentionally murder or try to murder, people who intentionally commit violent crimes, they are out on bond. Even when their risk of re-offending is high, they are given their rights to be innocent until proven guilty.
But because my husband has a mental illness, his rights to a speedy trial have been revoked, which has been proven time and time again to be unconstitutional by federal courts and vehemently fought against by the American Civil Liberties Union.
When your’re NOT mentally ill, you usually need to break the terms of your bond in order for it to be revoked. But if you’re mentally ill, apparently they can just do it EVEN IF YOU’VE FULLY COMPLIED.
I’ll tell you what this has done. It pretty much means Jason is now where she wants him to be AFTER his sentencing BEFORE he was even sentenced. He will likely stay there now until the end of all this. That is not innocent until proven guilty. That is LOCKED UP AND GUILTY and you prove you’re innocent. IT IS COMPLETELY UNCONSTITUTIONAL and a slap in the face of a man who fought and swore to protect that very constitution.
The judge set back the comprehensive care and MAJOR PROGRESS that the VA was making on his case. And most importantly, she barred him from attending a compensation assessment that would have helped not only him, but his family (ME AND HIS 4 CHILDREN) financially.
They are so afraid of what they don’t know. Afraid of the possibility of re-offending. When the statistics show that when a defendant seeks help and receives it, they are unlikely to re-offend. However, when they don’t receive adequate care, they and their families often fall into financial ruin. They can become a bigger financial burden on “the system” than if they had provided adequate COMPREHENSIVE care to the defendant sooner.
We knew once a verdict was read, he would likely be sent back to a psychiatric facility, but he has –AS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY — the right to reasonable bond. Today, that was taken from him because he was mentally ill. He didn’t actually do anything wrong. Quite the opposite: He sought care above and beyond what the legal system haso provided in the past two months.
THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. I’M TIRED OF PEOPLE NOT BATTING AN EYE EVERY TIME THEY HEAR OF PEOPLE’S RIGHTS BEING TRAMPLED JUST BECAUSE IT’S BECOMING SO COMMONPLACE.
Jason would have been better off pleading guilty to a lesser charge like another Stark County man did when he stabbed a Ravenna man in 2015. He was given probation and is out. YES, HE IS OUT IN PUBLIC.
Think about that, for those of you who are so afraid of what someone who has a mental illness is capable of doing. What is someone with all their mental faculties capable of doing?