my son was diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenic at age 19 . He has been admitted into mental wards over 30 times. His assessments have always been a danger to himself and to society. He is manageable on meds but has psychotic episodes throughout the day when he isn't taking meds. He is 31 years old now and in prison. He has two strikes. One was a plea bargin when he was returned from Patton for incompetent to stand trial. He has spent seven yers in prison, mostly as a parole violator - abscounding - In 2008 or 2009 after returning to Prison they quit giving him meds and his condition worsened. In 2010 he was sent to Atescadero State Hospital for four months for evaluation. He was released again without meds and was assessed as not having any mental issues. THIS is crazy! And as you know there is no cure for this illness. It is a dibilitating illness and will only get worse with time. (I believe the prison was covering themself for denying him his meds. It had been court ordered that he take them.Currently he is in Wasco Prison in a high security unit housed with violent offenders and without meds. Two months ago he was in a fight with a cell mate and he has been charge with battery with a weapon. A razor blade. He is facing the possibility of a life sentence.My son is manageable on meds and doesn't have anger issues as he does without meds. My Question is does he have any recourse? Is there any way an attorney can spare him this sentence because of thier failure to provide him his meds? Or the misdiagnosis of his condition? Is thier malpractice here? He was not protected in that high security unit. I believe this legal matter is being handled within the prison itself s I have not found any pending State court dates for him. This happened on June 1st and has been in Administative Segregation since.
State/Country relating to question: California
only try to find a criminal lawyer on pro bono or indigent fees ACLU doesn't handle State Prison civil rights issues
I am sorry to hear you are having to go through this with your son. The problem is that legally the state cannot force him to take medications unless he is committed to a state mental hospital. The prison system is certainly not the place for someone with mental disabilities, but the legal system has failed to recognize that in California and other states and this is a very hot moral and socio-legal debate for many years. The legal system merely is involved in punishment, they do not provide care or rehabilitation. The only thing you can do is get an attorney to argue that based on his mental condition his sentence needs to be served in a psychiatric prison facility and not a regular prison. You have ample documentation of his condition I am sure.As far as the ACLU, while you say they told you they do not handle civil rights issues in prisons, that was just them being nice to you. The fact is that the prisons have no duty to provide more than basic medical care to inmates and many times providing medications that are not for life threatening conditions is not within that duty I am afraid and this is another part of the very hot legal debate over mental health issues in prisons. Yes an attorney can help here and you need to either go to the public defender's office to get him representation or call the state bar for the pro bono attorneys in your area and they will file a motion in court to have him sentenced to a psychiatric facility and not a prison and this is going to be likely the best for him at this point based on the proof you have of his condition.
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