Hi Jackie , March 16, 2013
How are you?
Hope I get to say that to you in person, able to make the next NAMI meeting with my friend Sally who is still at Respite and is getting involved in the non-denominational Bible believing church I go to, Trinity Fellowship Church. I know God and His Word is the most important help for anyone, as I know you know too!
With God bringing Sally into my life, I’ve come to know and enjoy her, but also I have great pity for her because of the continual fear she lives with. She continually lives fearful of making a wrong move, knowing her bipolar could cause her to act ‘out of control’ and she end up doing something that would cause her to get picked up, taken to jail, and then be sentenced to prison.
Having already spent 2 years in jail here, and also having been sentenced to 10 years in prison, but got the option of probation instead, which she has been on for 5 years. But she is fearful she will somehow end up acting ‘out of control’ due to her bi-polar, which could fall into the category of ‘violating her probation’, and she then possibly have to do the other 5 years in prison, and even have more added to it.
Can you imagine living with such a CONTINUAL fear of possibly doing something wrong, due to her unpredictable bi-polar, and then ending up in prison; and then have mental illness to deal with on top of that?
I looked up her criminal record online and was shocked to see 43 charges! Her charges started in 1995 and Sally told me she started getting help for mental illness in 1996. Even with her professional psychiatrist’ mental illness diagnosis(es), she still has almost all of the 43 guilty charges against her and on her record AFTER THAT DIAGNOSIS! This is not right! And I am not blaming the dear people in our criminal justice system in San Angelo.
She keeps running into problems because of two felonies in her record. She hit and scratched a police officer. Sally told me, as her normal self, she would never do such a thing. She is a very sweet, thoughtful girl!
By the end of this month she has to be out of the Respite Shelter, but can’t find a place to live because of a felony in her background. She was thinking of moving into a motel. Because of in and out of jail, the mental hospitals, and just unable to properly take care of the business end of things, she lost her HUD housing that she had.
This very sweet girl who is such a delight to be around has to go to court in a few weeks because of charges of resisting arrest. It seems to me, unless we do something, she could end up in prison, having five more years due to serve from the 10 year prison sentence she was already given!
When I first met Sally I had mentioned to her that I had a friend (you) who has a son who is an attorney who helps people with mental illness. I was very impressed with him when I heard him speak on a panel at the NAMI conference our NAMI chapter paid for me to go to in Austin one year. I’m still very grateful to have had that life changing experience back then. Thank you!!
I learned on-line through the NAMI site about a jail diversion program in Shelby County, Tennessee, called the Jericho Project. It was started by a precious Christian man named Stephen Bush, a Public Defender in Shelby, TN. It is great! They show how their jail diversion program works, and how people with long records of jail, prison, and mental illness history get their lives turned around when they start getting help through the Jericho Project. They have a section on How To Bring a Jail Diversion Project into Your City, much of it focusing on how to help the Public Defenders see its worth and get in agreement with it. It is at: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=CIT&Template=%2FContentManagement%2FContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=146549
I first learned about jail diversion for people with mental problems at our NAMI meetings here in San Angelo.
Do we have something like that here now?
I just now got off the phone with Sally. She is going to try to be able to come home with me after church tomorrow. I invited her to watch some Jericho Project videos. They also have a Shelby County Public Defender’s Office blog, Justcity.org that I haven’t looked into yet. That would be another one we could watch, as well as good Bible teachings on-line about how God can heal anything! Hallelujah!
Sally has actually been pleading with me to get in touch with your son, possibly being an attorney who can help her. I told her I don’t even know if he is in town now.
Do you know if your son, or know of someone else, who might be able to help Sally with her upcoming court case where she is charged with Resisting Arrest? There might be also added to that a violation of probation as part of that.
With Jesus’ Compassion 4 these hurting people,
Jesus Loves YOU!!