Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Here is a open letter I would like to send to Gov. Pence.
Dear Governor Pence:
In my many years of working with the seriously mentally ill [SMI], there have many periods of public outrage because of the actions of a psychotic individual. John Lennon was shot. President Reagan was shot. There were random and nonsensical murders all across the country. And of course there is the recent massacre of children at the Sandy Hook school. All committed by the mentally ill. With each tragedy there is a public outcry to supervise the mentally ill better. To provide better treatment. To provide better supervision. To do a better job of protecting the public. I would like to help with this.
Most of my 35 plus years of working in social services has been working with the dangerous and serious mentally ill. I have been responsible for monitoring 600 [of a possible 1000 or so] mental patients who live in the community [in Marion County] and who were under court orders and civil commitment to comply with treatment. I worked with the mental health court to try to bring recalcitrant patients in compliance with their court orders.
At any given time, while supervising these patients, approximately 50% were non-compliant either by not taking their medications, missing appointments, or by substance abuse. The court had very few tools to force compliance.
It was very frequent that we would see the arrest of one of our patients for a notorious crime and then it made headlines all over the media. It was sad that we could not have prevented this. It was sad that we could not share with the criminal court information about the patients civil commitment nor his mental history. There is no sharing of this vital info with any agency.
There are many problems with the supervision of dangerously mentally ill. I believe with my experience from working with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defenders’ Agency, the Marion County Court System, the Marion County Jail, and the Marion County Community Corrections that I have knowledge and experience which would be helpful. In the past I have help develop the PAIR Mental Health Diversion Program. I served on Mayor Goldsmith’s Task Force on the Dangerous Mentally Ill. I served on Prosecutor Newman advisory panel on the Incarcerated Mentally Ill. And I served on the advisory committee for DOC under Commissioner Cohen.
I believe with rational planning and action, we can prevent many tragic crimes committed by the dangerous and serious mentally ill.
I would like to again work on this problem. I am willing to be part of a advisory committee to explore these issues. I am also willing to serve on the Governor’s Commission on Mental Health.
Please advise me if I can be of service. I can be reached at ph. 317-354-6668.
Robert Cardwell, LSW
January 31, 2013