Update 13 from GoFundMe: Jason spent the last week in a psychiatric facility, which sounds great and all, but the whole thing has been extremely confusing and frustrating.
First of all, the judge verbally ordered that he go to a psychiatric facility. We were told he wouldn’t end up in jail yet, he waited 8 days in jail for a bed before he actually wound up in the psychiatric facility.
When the judge’s written orders were finally published, it clearly said he was going to jail, then to a psychiatric facility for assessment, and then right back to jail. That was not what we were told was going to happen so, you can understand why I was critical. At least on bond, the VA took care of him. In jail, he’s just locked up. He gets very little care.
Once he got to the psychiatric facility, he was moved from the unit he was originally supposed to go to and ended up in a strictly forensic restoration unit. That whole unit’s purpose is to accept incompetent defendants and restore them. Jason was already declared competent by the first assessment, and he was there for a second sanity assessment (determine his state of mind during the alleged crime). Instead of the usual psychiatric group therapy sessions, they gave them court education — taught them about their rights, how the court system works, what the different pleas are, how to get legal counsel, etc. That part was odd but, we’re not complaining because a psychiatric facility is definitely a better place to end up than jail.
I insisted that they continue the care that the VA had been giving him and he was assigned a medical doctor and they did labs in order to refer him to endocrinology. I’m glad they did that, however, please keep in mind that this is the FOURTH time he had labs done in as many months. They keep doing labs but it never gets past that stage. Labs were done when he was in the ER after he was arrested. When they transferred him to a psychiatric facility, the hospital told them they needed to refer him to endocrinology. They did labs when he was released back to jail. The VA did labs when he was out on bond. When he was re-arrested and finally sent to the psychiatric facility, they did the labs again. The only people who successfully took the next step, and that’s get him an endocrinologist, was the VA but they can’t treat him while he’s in state custody.
By the time he’s referred to endocrinology, Jason will probably be back in jail, which means, they will have to do the labs again, write up the referral and by the time the endocrinologist referral is written up by the jail, who knows if Jason will still be there. Do you see how ludicrous this is? If he was out on bond, his care would have continued. Not only that but what a waste of tax dollars. The same first step has been done four times with no progress. That’s YOUR hard-earned tax dollars at work.
As most of you know by now, the state requested a second psychiatric assessment to make sure that whatever conditional release they set, would include accurate diagnoses. What Jason has been diagnosed with is pretty serious and if they’re going to ask him to get treatment through the courts, they want to make sure he’s being treated for the right thing.
My frustration lies in the fact that the courts chose to have this second assessment done while Jason was in custody, when the first assessment was done while he was out on bond.
I believe the reason why he was remanded into custody was due to fear that he would snap and do something again, even though research AND HIS OWN VA MEDICAL CHARTS show that while it’s possible, it’s made more unlikely because he not only is now diagnosed, he is now on medication, he is accepting of treatment, he has the support of his family (his wife — me, his father, his mother-in-law, etc.), he’s responding well to treatment and he’s cooperating with everyone involved. He also actively sought help while out on bond. All of these reduce the risk.
He even had an appointment with VA mental health the same day he was re-arrested, and three appointments within a week — and another three appointments within the following week — all except one appointment, were for issues directly relating to his case.
Anyway, we’re told he’s going back to jail sometime in the next week. It’s good because it means his case can progress. It’s bad because he’s going to go back to sitting in jail where he will continue to NOT receive adequate care.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it — if the goal is to rehabilitate him, get him to the point where he gets his issues stabalized, ensure public safety and reduce recidivism — he needs to be treated ASAP, not locked up in a box, alone with his thoughts, feeling dejected, depressed, lonely and being punished for something out of his control.
Anyway, that’s all I have the heart to share today. I’ll probably go back to being far more vocal once he’s returned to jail.
I have such respect for first- responders, law enforcement, public workers, for people in general — but it’s the nature of the system — the procedures — those are the things that really irk me. Believe it or not, I try and hold back my frustration because I never want to give people the impression that I’m disrespecting their job or their position or who they are. But, at the end of the day, I don’t know anyone who believes that a mentally ill defendant, not just that — BUT A MENTALLY ILL VETERAN WHOSE CURRENT SITUATION DIRECTLY RELATES TO HIS SERVICE — belongs in jail. It’s not illegal to get him help. There is a different way of doing things and countless other counties are doing that.
I get it, there are so many criminals going through the system, why take a harder look at my husband and his situation?
I don’t know, maybe because it’s the right thing to do?
I think he’s earned a little special treatment. I think he made a huge sacrifice. He may not have paid with his life but he will spend the rest of his life paying for it. I really don’t think it’s a lot to ask to treat him a little better.
The scariest thing is: If it’s happening to him, it’s happened to someone else. If it’s happening to him, it WILL happen to someone else.
Something needs to change — not just for Jason — but for other mentally ill defendants and other justice-involved veterans.