A Second Chance… My Perspective Criminal Justice

Our criminal justice system is not without problems. From lack of programs to help people to criminalizing mental health issues. What I’ve learned in my own life is there are ways that create a more meaning impact with better results than to utilize the system the way we do now, especially for our young people who are just starting out, still testing boundaries and not yet at the point of settling down as they sow their wild oats before determining their path in life.

As a new adult, having freshly finished boot camp, I made a bad decision that could have altered my life forever. I had a few days break before checking in to my training school to start my career field, I went home to party with old friends one last time. I had a few drinks and was likely over the driving limit and even though I felt fine in my own mind, I made the stupid decision to drive over to a friends that wasn’t far down the road. I got pulled over. I can’t remember why I got pulled over in the first place but regardless there I was, flashing lights in my mirror and a fear clutching my heart as all I could think in that moment was my career going down the drain.

The officer smelled the alcohol on my breath right away. He saw my uniform in the backseat and asked me about my military status. I told him how I just completed boot camp and was saying goodbye to friends one last time. He was a human being. It wasn’t just black and white to him. He knew the seriousness his next actions could have on the rest of my life. I wasn’t a bad person. I never harmed anyone. I partied as a teen but I also held down a job, finished my education, and pursued a career in the military all while living on my own since the age of 15. I could have been a statistic but I worked hard to not be. But I made a stupid decision that day and my future was held in the balance by the officer outside my car door.

Shortly after, another officer pulled up behind the one at my window and in that moment I felt defeated. But the words that came out that officers mouth changed everything. He gave me a quick lecture and told me to get to my friends house and don’t repeat the same mistake again. My friend was literally two streets away. I wasn’t incoherent or intoxicated to the point of being sloppy but I was sure it would have registered over the limit. I very carefully drove out of the parking lot and went to my friends house down the street, in shock over my 2nd chance. I never drank and drove again beyond the 2 drink limit. (I could hold my alcohol back in the day, I think 2 sips would blur my vision these days as I don’t drink and haven’t really in probably 15 years).

That officer could have changed my life in ways that would have had lasting effects and limit my opportunities to succeed. Being in the system changes things. I’ve watched a friend who struggled quite a bit, being in the system. When she finally changed her life, she found herself stuck. No one wanted to hire a felon. No one wanted to rent an apartment or house to a felon. Simply having a record kept her from having a life that would keep her from falling back into the system. If it wasn’t for her father owning his own business and giving her a job, she’d likely still be in the vicious circle of hinderance being in the system does to a person. How can one actually succeed when there are barriers in place for making those prior mistakes? It simply adds more negativity, strife and hardship, keeping people down and not doing anything to help ‘rehabilitate’ or help them to be successful. Our system sucks.

Another example of how a 2nd chance can truly make an impact more than a criminal record ever could. My ex boyfriend in my teen years made the decision to sell weed in order to make money. He was probably 19 at the time. He wasn’t any major dealer, just sold some small bags to friends and those who reached out. No hard drugs. One day we were both out and when we came home we found a business card on the coffee table right next to his weed box which sat open. I can tell you now, he never left his box open. Ever. Apparently, the bug man snooped through our stuff. Not only illegal but completely unethical. Well that idiot called the police on my ex and shortly after, we had a knock at our door. A detective paid us a visit. He told us he knew that **** was dealing weed and how a record could affect the rest of his life. Then another knock came at the door. Two recruiters for the military stood there at our door and the detective invited them both in to join ‘our little get together.’

What a crazy freaking experience. I was actually curious about the military, just not that branch of service, and to this day, I wonder if they set that up on purpose. My ex’s mother was the supervisor of the supervisor of the apartment complex and his dad was prior Navy. I don’t think the detective could have arrested my ex for dealing off of an illegal search and rumor from the bug man but nevertheless, that visit changed my ex’s life. Not only did he stop dealing that very day, but he also quit smoking weed. His life changed that day. He’s now married with kids and been working a full time job, being an adult and making a life for himself. He avoided the system.

These examples show that a simple 2nd chance can make a big impact on some of us. Maybe not everyone takes the hint. Maybe some will just laugh it off and continue being stupid but it can catch up with them and deservingly so. But I personally believe that 2nd chances would change more lives than realized. When we have a for profit system and rewards for tickets, arrests, and quota’s, that limits the ability of officers to make that choice to give a person a 2nd chance. It makes it all about money rather than the idea of rehabilitation, helping people, making our planet a better place.

Obviously, there are some ‘crimes’ that would never be on that list of 2nd chances. Rape, abuse, murder, ect. But for other things, a 2nd chance can be life changing and allow for better growth and change than a criminal record ever could. The system is a messy place and it follows you forever. People make mistakes and people absolutely can change and make better choices. Our young people in particular can use this kind of help. Most of us sowed a few wild oats back in the day and then we grew up.

An even bigger problem I will highlight here but deserves it’s own blog, is the criminal justice system and mental health. Having discovered here in Idaho, their method of helping juveniles get the services they need is to put them in the system as a criminal has blown my mind to a whole other level, creating anger, mistrust, and a tainted view of our state justice system. Once in the system, it can create the vicious cycle that can potentially add to their mental health issue they’re already suffering from but also hindering their chances of success. The answer to someone in a mental health crisis should NOT be to charge them with a crime in order to ‘make sure they’re getting help.’ The hardship that places on families and the burden it places on these kids is not the answer. I’m not talking about someone committing a crime in the community and blaming mental health. I’m simply talking about someone having a meltdown, mental health crisis, in my example, in my own home simply needing transport to the hospital.

What a broken system if we can be allowed to place these additional burdens on people who have enough burden on their plates to begin with. There are simple solutions and yet we don’t utilize them. It feels like common sense is becoming less common and systems just seek to place more barriers and burdens that complicate matters when it shouldn’t be that way. In these cases, it’s not about 2nd chances but common sense systems in place that can be utilized, separate from the criminal justice system. It seems no different than kicking a dog when they are already down. But I’ll save more on this issue for a separate blog. It needs attention and needs change.

I wonder if we took this 2nd chance approach, how many people would turn their lives around or make better decisions moving forward? Even if they still continued to make mistakes, how much more careful would they be with that prior experience in their life? Maybe some would completely change. Maybe others would just be more careful which in the end is still a win if it avoids certain behaviors that could possibly impact others. And to those who choose not to learn from their mistakes nor take advantage of their 2nd chance, well, the system awaits them.

The Next School Shooter

Several years ago, a mother in my state wrote an anonymous post about her child being the next school shooter. It took a post like that for a doctor in another state to reach out and help her child. Yet no change took place in Idaho. Our mental health system here is a broken wreck, we know it, they know it, but no one is doing anything about it. It’s been years, yet here we are with the same broken system. A young girl, a 6th grader became the next school shooter. Thankfully for her, no one died. I sit here wondering what help she will truly be given and what changes won’t take place because of it.

I sit here and wonder if my child will be next.

Did you know the state of Idaho does not have ONE anger management class or sessions for our youth? Not one, so they say. My child has actually reached out and asked for help with this anger that comes out of nowhere and rages out of control. He hates it, we hate it, but how do you control it? How do you stop it from unleashing in the first place? Doctors want to throw anti-psychotic after anti-psychotic at them but it does NOTHING to help the child. My child doesn’t do well on meds. Period. We’ve tried so many of there damn drugs but not one has helped. He lives with extreme over the top anxiety and panic attacks and nothing has touched it. It took YEARS to even try a fast acting anxiety med in the first place because they were too concerned with addiction than helping my child.

So my child suffered for so long without help that it’s become out of control and beyond where it needs to be due to lack of help in the beginning when we needed it most. Addiction is more concerning to them than the actual wellbeing of your child NOW. Off label meds are used more often than medications meant for the issue to begin with.

One of the biggest issues with long term drugs is that it can weeks to months to be effective. So they trial a med, fight off the side effects, only to have it be ineffective or cause more problems only to finally stop it and trial another, and another and another, to no avail. At some point the child will refuse meds. And then rage at the worthless system he finds himself under.

The state of Idaho has no real respite for older kids. I am just now learning of one on the east side of our state yet no one had mentioned it to me before. Why don’t we have one in the most populated area of our state? There are plenty of respite ideas for those with young kids but not a damn true respite for our older teens that benefit both the child and the parents. So the government contracted with the Hay’s house. A local shelter in Boise that takes kids. Apparently, paying good money from the government of Idaho to the Hay’s house to provide the needed respite for our kids in the system. Guess what? They denied my kid.

After taking weeks to even try and get someone to call me back and then go through the application process and set up a tour. I simply got a phone call telling me they don’t take kids with autism. They also don’t take kids with health issues even though my son doesn’t have any needed equipment or really any special care beyond, let him rest if he needs to and don’t require physical activity if he’s hurting. So why are they getting funds from the government, likely from us tax payers to provide a service, ON PAPER, that they are refusing to provide? It’s funny and ironic that the court order in my kids case simply says, “keep seeking respite…” Yup, we’ll keep seeking but never find.

And they wonder why kids finally explode. They wonder why suicide rates are high and ever climbing. They wonder why kids take their aggression out as a school shooter. I wonder what help the poor girl didn’t get and how long they battled the system trying to find it before she finally snapped. So what change did this incident bring about? Likely not a damn thing.

Respite for teens should provide a safe place for teens to have both enjoyment and a break from their families while providing a break to the parents as well. If one is suffering, the other will too. So if a kid goes to a place like Hay’s house and can’t even keep his phone or certain personal affects while there, please explain how that is not much different from detention? So even if he did get accepted, I can only imagine the anxiety in the back of my mind worrying about how frustrated my kid would be not having access to his basic personal affects while supposedly getting a break from the household… I honestly don’t think that would provide a real sense of relief, ie, respite. But it would be better than nothing…. until we can one day get real services and respite for our teens. If it’s not too late.

I’m so disgruntled by our system, our state, our health care. They are admittedly reactive and not preventative. But even their reactive measures are subpar, always shoving a square peg into a round hole and not getting results while continuing to try.

I would love to start a non profit and create a teen respite center in our state. A center with input from the very teens who would utilize it. But how do I do that? I’m just a disabled mom with ideas, a lack of education in that area, and very little energy to walk on my own two legs. But we need it. We need it desperately as do thousands of other kids in our state who are suffering like my kid is, just like the parents who struggle and need that break but are too afraid to ask for help or have asked but haven’t been heard. My ideas are endless on this program I’d like to create.

I’d also like to fix the broken juvenile justice/mental health system in our state. A REAL solution that would benefit our children that really does look a lot like common sense but our system is stagnant, apparently slow to change and how does one be the voice of change? I HAVE A SOLUTION!! But my voice travels out and fades away and doesn’t reach the ears of those who might actually be willing to make a difference. How can I be heard? How can I share my ideas that would help our kids in at least two areas where our state has failed? I need legs. I need someone to be those legs to reach the people necessary and then convince them to simply start by listening. Listen to my proposal and lets start working on solutions rather than wait till something even more drastic takes place that finally gets someone’s attention.

Will my kid be next?

Update to this post:

Not long after writing this post, I argued with his current psychiatrist about the state of affairs in our state and his inability to handle treating my son’s anxiety with a simple medication to do just that. He told me they don’t really offer those meds to kids and he didn’t feel comfortable doing so. I clearly let him know how unacceptable that is to me and how he’s only harming my child by withholding a necessary medicine he truly needed. I also told him he needed a real doctor to evaluate his physical health issues as I felt his underlying issue is not so much mental health as it is a physical issue exacerbating it, likely genetic affecting my kid and that we can’t seem to get help to diagnose him. His psych suggested sending him to Seattle’s Children where they have a good comprehensive medical clinic. I told him I would be very interested in that. He then went on to mention another clinic in Utah for mood disorders and medicine resistant kids. I voiced my opinion and told him I would like to go to Seattle’s children. He sent the referral to the mood clinic instead.

Why did he bother asking me or telling me about both places if he had his mind made up and didn’t accept my input? A month later I got a call from the mood center to schedule an appointment for my child. What I found out shocked me to my core. His psychiatrist sent the referral for him to get shock therapy. I don’t know about you, but I’ve researched that and let me tell you, the horrific stories coming out of shock therapy will blow your mind. These kid can come out with serious brain damage and permanent memory loss. So essentially, they wanted to shock the anxiety and depression out of my child rather than investigate the root cause of his physical health issues that affect him in ways that present like mental health. I would never ever risk harming my child or risk changing his personality all to avoid some meltdowns when he cycles through them after feeling trapped in his cage for being stuck without recourses. What kind of doctor orders such a thing without figuring out the health issues affecting him? I was so appalled. We never went back. FYI, the first thing mentioned before attempting such a dangerous procedure is to make sure there are not any physical health issues affecting the patient as well as a list of issues that would be contraindicative of him receiving those treatments which he has several of.

What people fail to understand as they’re simply ignorant to the mysteries of the human body, is that when mental health issues appear in someone, it is always imperative to rule out a physiological cause BEFORE labeling and treating a person with psychotropic drugs. But we’ve gone away from that for a long time now. Pysch meds are handed out like candy. Are there any discussions about the drugs kids are on when those violent encounters do happen? Do we ever talk about the damage those drugs can cause kids? Did you know many of them are not even for kids but adults over 18? And yet they hand them out like candy.

Twenty two years after I first got ill, I finally got diagnosed with a very rare genetic disease. Guess what? This genetic disease can present in kids as a mental health issues when their bodies are not being regulated by the diet that affects them as they don’t break down certain products in the body which builds up and makes them sick. A genetic disease I might have very well passed on to my children as their health symptoms are similar to mine in many ways. And yet, instead of those doctors testing him or looking into these diseases, they rather shock his brain and cause head trauma. Instead of giving a fast acting anxiety med to calm him when he’s feeling panic, they rather give him drugs that caused him harm and do nothing for anxiety. I truly hate our system.

Do I really think my kid would actually be the next shooter? No. But I see how it can happen in our world. I see how lack of real medical help, lack of appropriate prescriptions and a serious lack of services can lead to that very thing. And that’s not even talking about those coming from a troubled background who may also suffer from similar issues but don’t have parents fighting for them like I fight for my son. I feel even worse for them. At least my kid has all the love in the world. He’s also a great kid. He’s intelligent, helpful, intuitive, and brilliant in so many ways. He’s just lacking the proper medical care, the lack of services, and lack of outlets he needs while living with a disabled mom who can’t help him in the ways in which he needs as I’m still seeking help and services for myself as well. He needs a mentor, a physical trainer, someone to be the friend that also handles the adult responsibilities we’ve been unable to consistently provide him due to illness and his father working nearly every day of the week.

We finally found a psychiatrist to evaluate my child who has been worth every bit of the time and travel it takes to get to him. He is brilliant. He also has worked with many kids with rare diseases. He didn’t bat an eye at prescribing the appropriate medication my son needed. He is concerned with the here and now and not some future fear of addiction that holds him back from actually treating my child. He believes me. He also believes absolutely that my son is dealing with a rare disease. And this was before I got diagnosed. He’s been fantastic at signing off on testing for my son. He listens. My son absolutely does well at those appointments. He gets to see the side of my son that I know and not the side of the anxious angry teen that is tired of the medical system and tired of doctors dismissing him and treating him like he doesn’t matter. He looks forward to those appointments and feels respected. Maybe other doctors should take a page from this one’s play book.

In my search to get my son tested and treated for his physical health issues, his prior family doctor refused to write referrals needed for my son. He refused to reevaluate my son’s liver when it showed enlargement on his MRI, completely dismissing that finding and telling us not to worry about it. He’s suffered abdominal pain for nearly 3 years now. FYI, liver involvement is part of the disease I suffer with. It can absolutely be fatal. He dragged his feet in getting him a referral to the university hospital. 4 months of arguing back and forth. He deleted all our medical emails from the system when I complained to management about the behavior and lack of care from this doctor. Isn’t that illegal? Major red flag. He insinuated I was a Munchausen mom and told me to my face that what my son has was NOT a genetic problem and I’d have to come to terms with the fact that his issues were likely all mental health. That was last year, the last time I spoke with him. He was wrong. How sorely wrong and his ignorance has caused harm to my child. And they wonder why my kid hates doctors.

The child I mentioned at the very beginning of this blog who was diagnosed by a doctor out of state, well his mother wrote a blog about her son being the next school shooter. She was desperate and reaching the end of her rope seeking medical help for her child as we seem stuck in a state with very ignorant medical personnel who are not helping our children. I’m positive there are some good ones here, good luck getting in to see them. That mother reached out in the only other way she knew how, venting her frustrations for the world to read and it took that level of desperation for someone to finally listen. Someone who read her post and recognized the symptoms in her child. He finally got diagnosed with a condition that isn’t even rare but our Idaho doctors couldn’t seem to recognize. He finally got the care and help he needed and is doing very well to this day.

I guess in my own way, I felt like I was doing the same in highlighting what a truly broken system we have. But there are also other things people misunderstand. Words and actions are two very different things and context means everything. I had a relative who has no interaction with my child, who lives in a completely different state and based on a conversation from another relative with her own mental health issues, he accused my child of being the next school shooter. He accused me of not doing enough to help my son. He accused me of being a parent who would contribute to causing an act so violent and ugly. Didn’t matter that I showed him a copy of his medical record discussing these issues showing him MY child is being taken care of to the best of my ability AND these conversations are discussed with his doctor. Didn’t matter that MY child doesn’t have the qualities involved in psychopathic behavior. Didn’t matter what I said at all, he simply chose to insert his own beliefs and opinions about my child making accusations and judgements without context, facts, or even truly knowing my kid like I do. He was angry I didn’t send him to shock therapy. He thinks doctors are always right and don’t get it wrong. He doesn’t know the system like I do, our states current lack of programs, the snails pace in getting kids into appropriate doctors, with YEARS, not months waits in between. I’m not asking for judgement. I’m asking for compassion, understanding, and maybe some help. But if you can’t establish a relationship with your own relative and you chose to instead steal items from my child, yes that happened, please don’t come at me with your own misguided opinions of him.

Part of those accusations from my relative was actually due to my kid wanting to seek out euthanasia when he’s old enough to legally do so. Yes, my son has talked about this. Yes, his doctors ARE aware of this. And WHY has my son talked of this? Because he suffers in chronic pain. He suffers with his body not working correctly and dealing with horrible symptoms that LEAD to him being anxious and depressed and overwhelmed because of his PHYSICAL suffering with no answers or appropriate treatment. As I said earlier on, he has a physical health issue being undiagnosed which triggers mental health issues and frustration living a life hindered by these physical issues and being unable to do strenuous tasks which can put him bed for days after. That’s a heavy burden for a teen to deal with. He doesn’t want to end up like me and being disabled and only able to tolerate medical appointments (barely) and then back in bed day in and day out. What kind of life is that? He watches my progression and it kills him inside.

Should he be punished for voicing his thoughts? Are we now the thought police? What is wrong with a child being honest when trying to explain the depth of his suffering? This is the comment that led to the accusations from my family member. Then the recent case of an idiot parent who basically put a gun into her violent child’s hands that led to more accusations from a family member who stooped so low enough to assume I’d be that kind of parent. You can’t imagine the anger I felt from this. This wasn’t coming from a place of concern but from a place of control. I don’t play that. I will defend my child to the moon and back. My kids are my heart and soul, my life. If you think I don’t have their best interest in mind, then you know nothing about me. Nothing.

Our system is set up for failure. Too many fall through the cracks. It’s backwards and broken and does more harm than good in many cases. Lack of programs, lack of providers, specialists, and mental health programs. Gaslighting in the industry and blaming mental health for everything rather than digging dipper and or simply admitting it’s above your paygrade if you can’t figure it out causing harm to patients due to fragile doctor egos.

So much misunderstanding in mental health in general. Words spoken in panic or meltdown that don’t match a person’s behavior during normal times does not mean a child is dangerous or harmful. PDA Autism is completely misunderstood by those who do NOT have children’s with autism. Unless you have experience and knowledge then your opinions are unwarranted, unwanted, and ignorant. Words spoken in meltdown when a child is feeling out of control of his feelings are simply words spoken for shock factor to go to the extreme in their own way of getting others to see, they’ve hit their max, they’re overloaded and it’s time for a time out. This is actually a very COMMON issue with kids on the spectrum and only parents with autistic kiddos understand that struggle. They sure and hell aren’t going to tell you it’s simply a ‘discipline’ problem or their kids are just spoiled. Those are two very completely different things. The problem is those without kids and especially without kids with autism think they know better and feel it’s ok to tell you otherwise when they couldn’t be more wrong. Very wrong. It’s easy to judge. It’s not easy living in my shoes.

I Understand..

There are so many issues that divide our society. From my own personal journey, I can truly understand both sides of many issues. There really is no black or white but various shades of gray that make up our feelings and frustrations due to our experiences in life. Those stuck on either side of the black/white issue, simply have not experienced or walked in our shoes. They are blinded by their own journeys in life. That does not make them wrong, it makes them simply ignorant of the experiences of others and unable to see how others got to the place in which they view their side of things.

Our Backwards System

Our system has it backwards in regards to helping people with a mental health crisis. Let’s be honest, oh wait!! You can’t! That’s one of the biggest hinderances to people receiving help. You absolutely can NOT be truly honest.

The stigma with mental health is another huge barrier to those who truly want to seek help. In addition, it can be illegal in the sense that one can actually be CHARGED with a crime rather than simply getting someone the help that they need. Please explain how charging someone ISN’T counterproductive in helping someone struggling with mental health issues. Sure, let’s add the criminal stigma to an already added pressure of the mental health stigma. Not to mention, the criminal aspect follows you for the rest of your life and counts towards an offense in your file. No pressure, stress, or harm caused there, right??

Shall we talk about the lack of services, providers, and understanding in our community. You need help, but sorry, it’s a years wait and the providers currently available are fresh out of high school with little to no experience. In addition, all MUST fit into the same neat little box and benefit from talk therapy. It’s one size fits all. And here’s some medication while we’re add it. Don’t worry about the horrible side effects or the fact that you don’t process the medication very well. Try the next one in the same category. And the next. And the next… But we won’t give you something for that severe anxiety that could help you now cause it could be addictive.. so we just won’t prescribe it. But try this off label med instead… it can take a couple months to be effective… if it works for you.

Honesty… When being honest nets you a jail cell or someone coming into your life to control it in ways that they think are being helpful but in actuality make things tremendously worse and cause more harm…. Haven’t they learned yet? Maybe they’re the ones with the mental health problem since they repeat the same mistakes over and over thinking they’ll net different results. Not everyone needs to have their lives controlled and items removed and meds stopped due to the thoughts in ones head. Isn’t ‘talk therapy’ one of the ways in which they say will help? Just don’t talk about that! Or that! Or that!

If a person truly wants to end their lives, they WILL find a way to do it. It doesn’t matter what you remove from their presence, they’ll find a way if determined enough. Yes, we all have those negative thoughts in a crisis of anger that, well, sound terrible, but does that mean the person is actually going to act on it? Shhhh… let’s not discuss that either. You just might be charged for your negative evil thoughts.

How about simply offering ACTUAL help in the FORM that someone needs? Wouldn’t you think that might actually reduce the amount of stress and overwhelming depression a person is suffering? No, let’s lock them up instead and add more work, hassle, embarrassment, stigma and, oh yeah, more STRESS to the equation. How about finding out what their needs truly are and why they are suffering and find solutions that help them actually function? We don’t really have programs available like this.

A lot of my own stress and anxiety is from being disabled and trying to take care of my children, one which battles his own health and mental health issues. But they make getting a caretaker nearly impossible! Hell, I had to pay for my own wheelchair since I can walk to the bathroom in my own home. We have tools to help but we won’t allow you to use them until you’re so messed up you have no choice otherwise. And respite? A glorified babysitter that gets paid to sit there and make sure your kid isn’t causing harm. How about programs that actually allow them to do something THEY enjoy for once to actually reset and take a break beyond experiencing the same day in and day out that led to their need of respite in the first place. And yes, kids need respite too. Or another option is a children’s home type environment where you’re restricted on your rights and creature comforts which just simply adds to their anxiety and removes items they use as supports, such as cell phones. That doesn’t help the child, it just makes them feel locked up.

How do we fix this broken system?

We should never fear calling the Police during a crisis… Part 1: My Journey with Ada County Juvenile Justice and Meridian Police Dept.

We should never fear calling the police during a mental health crisis. But that is exactly what I now fear. I will never utilize there service that we pay for, ever again, no matter how bad it gets. They have failed me. The Ada County Juvenile Justice Department has lied to me and they are not there to help your children as they are proving that.

Around September of last year (2020), my son had a complete and utter meltdown. Covid has been rough on our kids, especially those with autism or other mental health issues. Due to my child’s depression, we have a crisis plan in the event it is needed. I’ve never needed it before. That night, I did. 

I simply needed the police or ambulance to transport my child to the ER. My child had volunteered to get help but when he found out they needed blood work, he lost it. He hates needles, it’s part of his autism anxiety. I was afraid of him hurting HIMSELF, so I made that call. My son did NOT want to go to the ER and I alerted the officers of his diagnoses and his fear and that he was not willing. They said they may have to restrain him if he refused to cooperate. There was no mention of anything beyond that. My son was transported to the hospital in restraints. 

One month later I received a call. My son had a warrant out for his arrest. He was being charged with a felony assault on a police officer and a misdemeanor resisting charge.  They are charging him for ‘attempting to bite’ the officer even though he didn’t cause any harm, he’s a small kid and they had him on the ground putting a body wrap around him. 

Though I managed to have the warrant removed AND the prosecutor was willing to drop the felony, his supervisor would not let him. We have trial in April. They said they would drop the felony if we pled to the misdemeanor. This to me seems like blackmail. Why should we plead guilty to any crime when we simply needed help during a mental health crisis? They said they charge kids to make sure they’re getting the proper help they need… yet not one phone call to see how he is doing. Not one phone call to share any information regarding services. They didn’t even ask if he was receiving any services!  How is this helping my son?  If they were really seeking to only charge to help, then why wouldn’t the supervisor allow the prosecutor to drop the heavier charge and work with the other charge that remains? Again, this shows they don’t have his mental health in mind but are seeking to punish my child and for a crime that could follow him for the rest of his life and for what??? For calling 911 to help us get him to the hospital… Never again.

I’m a disabled veteran who is in the process of seeking caregiver support due to my disabling condition. Stress exacerbates my health issues. This has certainly put a lot of stress on my shoulders and added more to our plates when it wasn’t even necessary. Not to mention my son could have a felony record for life if the judge determines he’s guilty.  There are no laws to protect my son. Where’s the common sense?