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December 4, 2019

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Sentencing the Mentally Ill

I want to raise a concern on how judges can get away with railroading mental health patients into prisons, not acknowledging any of their issues when there are laws out there that are supposed to protect them.  That's been a big issue.because as offenders you can't do but so much in the court of law because they gave the judges all the power.  So how does anyone with a mental illness fight when they are wrongfully sentenced?  Where's the justice!!  I feel it's time to start helping these AMERICAN PEOPLE and stop abusing them.  We as a nation are to help those in need, not add to their problems.

 

A note from the Coalition for Justice:  The ACLU of Virginia states, "Consistently, prisons and jails fail to provide adequate medical care to inmates: chronic illnesses go untreated, emergencies are ignored, and patients with serious mental illness do not receive necessary medical care. Jails have become Virginia’s de facto solution to a lack of community mental health services. Nearly one in four inmates have a mental illness that requires treatment with drugs."

 

Also, Virginia does not have parole but does have sentencing guidelines and judges are mandated to submit a written explanation of any departure from these recommended sentencing guidelines. As of April 9, 2018, the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission Judicial Departure Reasons reported that from FY 2007 to FY 2017, there were over 10,000 cases in which the sentence imposed upon the defendant exceeded the guidelines with no (mandatory) written reason for departure by the district judges (noncompliance.) What’s worse, Virginia law does not allow any any form of post-conviction relief or be reviewed upon appeal when the Courts are in noncompliance.

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