Monday, April 28, 2008

Lubbock wants "private defender" office for mentally ill

Lubbock County Commissioners appear to have embraced the idea of a specialized defender offices reducing indigent defense costs, particularly for targeted, high cost populations. First they spearheaded Texas' first multi-county capital public defender program, and now commissioners hope to create a "private defender" for mentally ill defendants. Reports the Avalanche Journal ("Lubbock County Commissioners seek grant for mental health defense system," April 26):
Lubbock County commissioners on Friday agreed to apply for a grant that would help fund the establishment of a private defender for mental health offenders. The office, which would be the first of its kind in Texas, would use county funds to pay a nonprofit organization to oversee cases defended by private attorney.

"This will actually save money and address a critical issue," said Bill McCay, Precinct 1 commissioner.

Commissioners noted in the Friday meeting concerns about the amount of time people are staying in jail before trial and said this office will help expedite the process for mental health offenders.

Establishing the office will save money by streamlining processes such as mental health screening, which was budgeted to be done by five screeners. This will in turn pay off by getting the people out of jail who don't need to be there, said Patti Jones, Precinct 4 commissioner.

There are no private defenders in Texas, said David Slayton, director of court administration and director of the mental health defender program.

If Lubbock receives the grant, it will start a new system, combining elements of the two existing defense systems in Lubbock County. Currently private attorneys are appointed to handle all non-death penalty cases on an ad hoc basis. Capital cases are handled by the new West Texas Regional Public Defenders Office of Capital Cases, also the first of its kind in Texas.

In a public defender system, the attorneys are actually county employees. The new system will be a convergence of ad hoc and public.

"It's 100 percent a marriage of the two," Slayton said.

The private defenders office still will allow private attorneys to handle the cases of the mental health offenders, but the oversight will be done by a non-profit organization using county dollars to defend the accused.

I'm not sure I understand the proposed system, or how a non-profit managing private attorneys would save any money, though earlier screening for defendants makes a lot of sense. Travis County created a public defender office for mentally ill defendants, but this appears to be a substantially different model.

4 comments:

JSN said...

I think an advocate for a mentally ill person is probably a better idea because once the mentally ill person enters the criminal justice process many doors are closed and the costs are much higher.

Toxic Reverend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toxic Reverend said...

What a concept. The next thing you know, they might get
"criminals" evaluated for toxic chemical exposures and
properly treated, so that they stop committing "offenses",
as Barbra Stitt did, while she was a probation officer in
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

In reference;

Book title:
Food and Behavior,
By Barbara Stitt
Chapter: The Biochemistry of Crime, pp.66-73

Introduction about this book.

The study was done a Barbra Stitt while she was the
head of the probation department for the city of
Cuyahoga Falls, in Ohio.

In the movie "Super Size Me" a school of children
with learning disabilities and behavioral problems
did a 180 after the kids were put on an organic diet.
This was done with "Natural Ovens" and Pail Stitt,
Barbra Stitt's husband. Her book " Food and Behavior"
was the basis for the approach that they took with the
kids. And it was done at no additional cost to the
school system. This is also applicable in mental
health wards, as well as jails and other institutions.

Jeffery Barr PhD and Barbra Stitt were a consultant with the
school in the movie "Super Size Me" that used diet to straighten
the kids with behavioral problems.

At least that is my understanding of it and you might want
to verify the fact for yourself.

The movie did not detail the nutritional supplements that were put
into the kids "Smoothies". (A type of fresh fruit blended drinks that the
kids loved, and so "took their medicine).

Note:
Along with avoiding toxic chemical exposure education, certain
nutritional supplements can greatly aid detoxification.

Excerpts from the book "Dood and Behavior"m chapter

"the Biochemistry of crime", are posted with

more reference material at:

Suicide - Homicide and the Biochemistry Of Crime -
Independent research: ....rough draft posted with
verifiable peer reviewed reference material
http://toxicreverend.blogspot.com/2008/03/suicide-homicide-and-biochemistry-of.html


Blessings,
The Toxic Reverend at MySpace
http://www.myspace.com/toxicreverend

Toxic Reverend said...

Mentally Ill or Toxic Victims ?

Environmental Connections: A Deeper Look into Mental Illness
Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 115, Number 8, August 2007
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2007/115-8/focus.html

Their "general conclusion" (in the
above article) is that mental illness
is not "so genetic" and most likely
due to toxic chemical exposures.....

FYI:
Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP)
a monthly journal of peer-reviewed
research and news on the impact of the
environment on human health. EHP is
published by the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences and its
content is free online. Print issues
are available by paid subscription.
http://www.ehponline.org/