In Wild & Wonderful West Virginia!
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People do not wake up one day and make the decision to be mentally ill. Recognizing the signs of mental illness is a tricky business but often families do know that something is not quite right with one of their family members. There are long-term ramifications to being labeled “mentally ill” so many family members just hope their loved one will snap or grow out of the troubles their are experiencing. Counseling is the generally accepted method for dealing with mental illness but counselors would have to be able to read the mind of someone in order to counsel them regarding their current state of mind should they take a turn for the worse. Manic episodes can last anywhere from minutes to hours to days.
Outside of the family when one encounters someone with a mental illness having an episode, it is often due to some kind of disturbance. This is when police officers are called. Police officers do not take someone with a mental illness to a hospital for treatment. They take them to jail. Unless they are under pressure from family members, jails do not provide detainees any kind of health care (with or without insurance) and with the exception of emergency medical care. Within the time prescribed by the law of the state, detainees will be arraigned in a court of law. This is usually done within days and you are appointed an attorney that you will meet with and talk to just minutes before this hearing. This arraignment is where you are asked whether you are guilty or not guilty of charges. If a mentally ill person is still in a state of anxiety, it may not be recognizable to someone who has only a few minutes to talk with them. All defendants are told to plead not guilty at their arraignments. Why? This gives both the state and the offender time to gather more information.
The next court date will not be set for anywhere from between a few months, to up to a year or even more. Ideally for the state's prosecutor detainees will make bail or they are released on their own recognizance. If they are released untreated, their chances of committing another offense is very high; thus a feather in the prosecutor's cap for getting convictions. Thus begins the cycle of how the mentally ill and their families help provide jobs for lawyers, and other court employees, bonding companies, big pharmaceutical companies, and private prisons. So, why on earth would they want them to become healthy, happy and productive in society?
If these industries were working for the betterment of anyone but themselves lawyers wouldn't cost $200 an hour, bail bondsmen wouldn't exist, someone would try to find out the circumstances surrounding your arrest way before the day of your arraignment, counseling and health care would take place in jails, family visits would be encouraged instead of discouraged, phone calls to family would be at reasonable rates, there wouldn't be a ridiculous mark-up on items purchased in an inmate commissary, there wouldn't be a fee associated with putting money on a loved one's books and the list goes on and on. This is a business, and a big one. So big, as a matter of fact that it is not satisfied with locking up and procuring the lives of just the people who are guilty of committing crimes. That wouldn't be enough people; but that's for another article.
Please do remember that all of the above scenario takes place before guilt has been determined. It can take up to a year for someone to be tried and convicted. If their crime was not serious they will mostly likely get sentenced to the time that they served in jail and then be released never having been evaluated; but never fear that's why the habitual offenders laws were invented. Once in a prison, in some states it is then possible to get health care and counseling. It can take another 6 months to adjust any medications that are prescribed.