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All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Lives of the mentally ill matter, too!


One of our prisoner correspondents has chosen to focus on inmate stories that could and should have been handled differently.

Readers of this column know that we have repeatedly and strongly advocated for the mentally ill, especially those who live here in Michigan where our care is so inadequate. Well, here’s the story of Mr. Brown (his real name), and how our system in the State of Michigan failed him every step of the way. Mr. Brown is 72 now, although he sounds like a child. His peers say he cannot function properly, and insist that he needs help.

1978

Three guys arrested in Detroit when a person is killed. Mr. Brown’s two co-defendants take advantage of his mental illness, and place the blame on him. Following short prison terms, they are free.

1979

Though seriously mentally ill, Mr. Brown receives a life sentence in prison, rather than assignment to a mental institution.

Over the years in prison

Mr. Brown’s health deteriorates: bronchitis, asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

2020

Mr. Brown contracts Covid 19. “There is no way he could make it through a second wave of infection.”

Our correspondent Jamie Meade, who represents the National Lifers Association chapter in his facility, is begging for help for the man: “Mr. Brown can safely be released to a senior living facility. His age and mental illness require continuous care. It is a social injustice to keep him in prison another day. If Mr. Brown does not receive help he will die in prison.”

Here we have an elderly African American man, severely mentally ill, who has spent the past 43 years behind bars. Now he’s physically ill, eligible for parole but obviously having trouble catching a parole, and no place to go if he does get out. What a sad, sad story!

The system has failed him from top to bottom, from beginning to end, from start to finish.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

I’m convinced that Jesus cares.

Do we?






2 comments:

Fawn007 said...

I care, I care immensely. The problem is our government does not.

Unknown said...

I care however Whitmer and Hiedi Washington clearly have show they do not. Please Lord Jesus give these 2 individuals a heart.