I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. (Thomas Jefferson)
“Psychiatric hospital beds are not profitable. In Virginia it costs $500 — an average of $500 a night to operate a psychiatric hospital bed. It costs $89 to have someone in jail. So it’s much simpler just to shuffle the mentally ill, close down the hospitals and move them into jails and prisons. That’s what we’ve done.
There are 300,000 people in this country with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression who are in our jails and prisons; 500,000 are on probation every year; 700,000 go through the court system. The largest public mental facility in the United States today is not a hospital, it’s the L.A. County Jail. That’s our system today.” (Pete Earley)
The Associated Press
Peter Mohan traces the path from the Iraqi battlefield to this lifeless conference room, where he sits in a kilt and a Camp Kill Yourself T-shirt and calmly describes how he became a sad cliche: a homeless veteran.
There was a happy homecoming, but then an accident car crash, broken collarbone. And then a move east, close to his wife’s new job but away from his best friends.
And then self-destruction: He would gun his motorcycle to 100 mph and try to stand on the seat. He would wait for his wife to leave in the morning, draw the blinds and open up whatever bottle of booze was closest.
He would pull out his gun, a .45-caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He would lovingly clean it, or just look at it and put it away. Sometimes place it in his mouth.
“I don’t know what to do anymore,” his wife, Anna, told him one day. “You can’t be here anymore.”