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Old 05-12-2018, 04:00 PM
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Default Man with schizophrenia jailed after breaking into a Pizza Hut

His 911 call as 'Jesus Christ' went viral after Pizza Hut break-in; story since is tragic
The recording of Richard Lee Quintero's 911 call in late March went viral. After all, Quintero reported he was Jesus Christ and turned himself in for breaking into a Pizza Hut, where he ate a pizza and drank a Mountain Dew.

[...] Quintero, who suffers from chronic paranoid schizophrenia, amputated his own tongue after spending three weeks in jail. That got him hospitalized for about a week until he was sent to Raleigh's maximum security Central Prison, where he was under what's known as "safekeeping" until an expected May 18 court date.

It was "heartbreaking," to Quintero's mother Alice Yorks that her son's mental illness became comedic fodder online for more than a million people [...].

He called 911, a number people call for help, and ended up in jail.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:18 PM
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Mental illness does not mean the inability to know right from wrong. He knew he broke the law and called 9-1-1. His later actions of self-harm are not germane to the original arrest.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:30 PM
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Mental illness does not mean the inability to know right from wrong. He knew he broke the law and called 9-1-1. His later actions of self-harm are not germane to the original arrest.
Not my point, nor the point of the article.

The point is that while people clicked and laughed and made judgements, a man with a 20+ year history of severe mental illness is housed in jail for a period of time awaiting...what? A trial? Sentencing? Transfer? Over what? Who did his jailing benefit? The owner of the restaurant? Quintero? Tax payers?

I get it. We can't help everyone, you can't go broke trying to save people. But it's the attitude, the lack of compassion, the idea that jail is an appropriate measure in situations where someone without the innate ability to care for themselves because their brain doesn't function properly that angers me. Do you think he woke up one day and decided to hear voices and struggle with assimilating to the world around him?

What a luxury it is to be able to decide who is worthy of our compassion and who can be disposed of.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:43 PM
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Mental illness does not mean the inability to know right from wrong.
The judge in this case would disagree with you.

"After spending 48 days behind bars, Quintero was declared incompetent this week after a psychiatric evaluation, the charges were dismissed and he was moved to one of North Carolina's three psychiatric hospitals Wednesday."

He called 9-1-1 to tell them he had broken into the restaurant to eat because he was hungry, he was Jesus and he was being persecuted by the Judas' of the world. He didn't call to confess to a crime.

Compassion. Empathy. Humanity. Why is it so damn hard?
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:03 PM
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And after they medicate him for a few weeks, he will be declared 'competent' and will be returned to prey upon the community since his family seems unable to ensure he gets quality care from local mental health professionals.

A person who is willingly breaking into businesses because they 'like pizza' is a threat to the community. They know right from wrong as evidenced by their call to 9-1-1 but choose not to do right...that makes them a criminal, albeit a criminal with mental health issues. That does NOT justify a free pass IMO...
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:17 PM
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“He's been arrested at least three other times, once for beating another group home resident with a brick after becoming convinced his victim had become one of the characters in the violent video games the man often played.”

Did you read the entire article? I agree the guy has mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean others should pay the price and arresting him seems to have been the only option.

What should the police have done?
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:49 PM
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Did you read the entire article? I agree the guy has mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean others should pay the price and arresting him seems to have been the only option.

What should the police have done?
I did.

I actually don't feel it's the job of the police to be agents of mental health treatment. Obviously with his previous charges, incarceration isn't "teaching" him anything or putting him on a path to competency. So the only role of the police should be to act as transport to an appropriate treatment center. Though as the article stated, those places are few and far between.

But again. I think I'm spitting in the wind on this one. I have my history and my biases. I will never see incarceration as a reasonable option to cope with mental health disorders.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:08 PM
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Where he lives jail WAS the only treatment option. No local hospital had room for him, no mental health treatment center had room for him - his own family had no control over him.

It is a very sad situation, not one I’d wish on anybody, but bashing people with bricks isn’t right either nor is breaking into businesses.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:26 PM
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Some mental illnesses are treatment resistant meaning drugs don't work. It takes time to come to that conclusion, involving trials with a bunch of different drugs, combinations of drugs, and other therapies. Unfortunately, what works for a period of time may lose its effectiveness over time as well, leading patients who react this way to a drug to experience increasingly florid symptoms. Then there are the drugs that require close monitoring because they can have adverse effects on the kidneys or liver, leading to other changes in medication. It is rarely a matter of finding a med that suddenly works in a week or two.

People who I've dealt with who have schizophrenia take at least 2 months in the hospital to stabilize, and that's if they are lucky.

People with severe mental illness rarely have insurance. Assuming that they have a stable address, the appropriate documentation from doctors, and do what's necessary to apply for disability, they will eventually get disability assuming they are schizophrenic and don't earn too much money. Very few schizophrenics are like Kurt Vonnegut's son, capable of becoming a pediatrician and maintaining a practice while writing books and having a well controlled set of symptoms.

More likely, especially in states that do not have robust mental health systems (most states), haven't expanded Medicare, and where a person comes into their adulthood with the ore-existing condition of schizophrenia, a person can't afford insurance. With adequate supports and somebody willing to foot the bill and a shrink able to see a patient early, and a patient willing to adhere to treatment and not listen to the voices saying that doctors are trying to kill them, parents are the devil, etc. a person can get stabilized and move into a long term hospitalization to really get a grip on symptoms and. Disease before gradually coming back and rehabbing into a life that we considered relatively normal. But that costs money. Drugs alone can cost more than $3k a month. A shrink can cost $500 or more for a single visit.

A poor person from a broken family won't receive this sort of attention. A familynthats not paying attention won't catch the fact that a child is losing connection with reality and won't go to the trouble of realizing that, before 18 anyway, they can actually have the child hospitalized. He won't be able to afford medication. Won't be able to find an affordable shrink, and if he gets treated in a hospital at all, will be treated until no longer a danger to himself or others - a status very easy for people to fake.

At 18 or older, it's different. No insurance. Families burn out quickly, drug regimens cannot be maintained. It is easiler for a person to find an illegal drug dealer than it is to get an appointment with a shrink, go to it, pay for it, get a script, fill it, pay for it, and remember to take the drugs as prescribed. There is no follow-up. Forget about psychotherapy - costs too much.

Jail and prison are the way most floridly psychotic people find their way into treatment, and the treatment there is for the purposes of running a safe and orderly institution, not for the primary purpose of rehabilitating a person with a mental illness.

Do we know if this guy was criminally culpable for the crime? Dunno. We won't know until he's been adequately evaluated, medicated, treated, and otherwise brought into a position where his mind at the time of the crime can be understood. Granted, the vast majority of people, no matter how psychotic, are found to be sane within the meaning of the law, a law that generally predates the Civil War (M'Naughten). And there is no guarantee that a guy in his 40's will ever be sane enough to be evaluated, or to be able to understand the charges against him and able to aid in his own defense.

Our mental health system is broken. Police are usually on the front line dealing with emotionally disturbed people, whether they have committed a crime or not. Police in every state I've encountered can write a person for emergency commitment/evaluation and transport that person to the hospital.

Let's remember, not everybody has either a family, a family willing to help a mentally ill person, or access to psych treatment or hospitalizations. Let's also remember that we don't know the reason for the call, or that the person actually views themselves as culpable. Most severely mentally ill people are not looking for a free pass - they are looking for help. Or, they simply do not believe the world works as you or I believe it works.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:27 PM
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Where he lives jail WAS the only treatment option. No local hospital had room for him, no mental health treatment center had room for him - his own family had no control over him.

It is a very sad situation, not one I’d wish on anybody, but bashing people with bricks isn’t right either nor is breaking into businesses.
Completely agree. He appears to have a condition that leaves him a danger to himself and others. And with a 20 year history, it still took 48 days to get a psych eval? I guess what I'm trying to say is that as a system, we've got it the wrong way around. Why don't we treat mental health to an adequate degree instead of funding jail beds for them? I think the same could be said for criminal addicts where they've shown that incarceration is rarely conducive to cessation of abuse.

I worked closely with severely mentally ill-- schizophrenics, disassociatives, med compliant and not. I was assaulted at work by a client and it never occurred to me that the solution was to place him in jail. He went inpatient for medication adjustment and evaluation. Then he came back to work and we moved forward. Nothing would have been gained by pressing charges and having him serve time. It wouldn't have helped me and it certainly wouldn't have helped him. He has a biological condition that leaves him ill equipped to function independent of chemical assistance. Medication helps, it doesn't cure. He's going to have ups and downs for the rest of his life. I guess we were "lucky" to live in a community with a psych facility.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:23 AM
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“Why don't we treat mental health to an adequate degree instead of funding jail beds for them?”

Just guessing, but the short answer is jail gets them off the streets NOW and there’s the additional issue of how do you force somebody to be treated? I also wonder if funding jail beds is less costly.

Since it was known for years this guy was ill and he still is causing problems I’d guess he’s not following his treatment plan.

There’s also the problem of where to get the money for mental health care. I doubt voters are going to approve a tax hike and if more money was available I’m not sure people would want it going to improved mental health care.

I meant to mention in my first comment I was revolted my this ugly situation being turned into a sick form of entertainment. I dislike all bullying, but this type is particularly revolting - making jokes about a serious illness is wrong.

Last, where I live getting a mental health evaluation in that amount of time would be considered fast.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:46 PM
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Some mental illnesses are treatment resistant meaning drugs don't work. It takes time to come to that conclusion, involving trials with a bunch of different drugs, combinations of drugs, and other therapies. Unfortunately, what works for a period of time may lose its effectiveness over time as well, leading patients who react this way to a drug to experience increasingly florid symptoms. [...]
This is why public education is important and the attitudes I see reflected don't show that the majority of people understand this.

Jail and prison are the way most floridly psychotic people find their way into treatment, and the treatment there is for the purposes of running a safe and orderly institution, not for the primary purpose of rehabilitating a person with a mental illness.
Absolutely. Also why in an ideal situation, jail isn't the proper placement for someone like Quintero.

[...]
Our mental health system is broken. Police are usually on the front line dealing with emotionally disturbed people, whether they have committed a crime or not.

I'll go back to feeling like I must have lived in a pro-mental health community because we had a team that was, admittedly, thinly funded, but an invaluable in service. If LEO was called out for a psych situation, CAHOOTS was nearly always involved. They were there specifically to assess the psychiatric need of the person and determine a plan in conjunction with LEO.

[...]Most severely mentally ill people are not looking for a free pass - they are looking for help. Or, they simply do not believe the world works as you or I believe it works.
Exactly. I could not have said it better. My chronically ill clients did not live in the same world that you and I inhabit. It doesn't mean they're given liberty to abuse or flaunt parameters that keep society safe, but you wouldn't get anywhere punishing a fish who refused to climb a tree.
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“Why don't we treat mental health to an adequate degree instead of funding jail beds for them?”
Just guessing, but the short answer is jail gets them off the streets NOW and there’s the additional issue of how do you force somebody to be treated? I also wonder if funding jail beds is less costly.
Very good point. It's unfortunate that jail is the immediate option, though I understand that lack of bed-space and funding as has been discussed. But I also refuse to accept that because we do it that way, that's the best or only way.

Since it was known for years this guy was ill and he still is causing problems I’d guess he’s not following his treatment plan.
As yourself mentioned in the quote above, treatment is fluid not static. So stability is also fluid and not something necessarily involving non-compliance.

There’s also the problem of where to get the money for mental health care. I doubt voters are going to approve a tax hike and if more money was available I’m not sure people would want it going to improved mental health care.
[...]
And that circles me back to a lack of public education, empathy and compassion.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:16 PM
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Most people DO have compassion and empathy, but it’s usually directed at things they care most about and for many people, especially in very rural poor states, mental health is low on the list.

Increased funding for mental care and for increased prison funding just isn’t a priority to many.

I’m not saying that as my opinion, but I fear it is a fact. When somebody with a physical health problem can’t get care I doubt they’re too concerned for the person that needs mental help. When somebody is hungry I’d guess they’re more concerned about government funding going to food resources than they are about somebody that’s mentally ill.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:57 PM
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The mentally ill are an easy way to fill prison beds. Routinely. Repeatedly. Frequently for the rest of a person's, life with in and out and in and out of jails and prisons. And since they don't program well in prison, they aren't apt to get released at the earliest.

In situations where incarceration is preferred, especially when private prisons are involved, this static population is money.

I really don't blame police for the shitty position they are placed in. many do not have adequate training in dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals. Many are also confronted with terrible choices - on a night where it's below zero, do they arrest the homeless schizophrenic and take him to jail, or leave him on the streets when beds aren't available? And when the nearest psych hospital is over an hour away?

Taxpayers have made it clear that they do not want to spend money on basic healthcare - they don't care about medical stuff they can see - broken bones, cancers, all sorts of physical ailments that they can see and appreciate. And they definitely don't want to pay for mental health treatment for mental illnesses. It is a character weakness that is poorly understood by most. Everybody knows somebody who is bipolar. Mildly bipolar. People use the term to mean any random change in mood without understanding that those with severe treatment resistant bipolar disorder are not the same. If Aunt Sue can raise 3 kids, or cousin Jim can get through college and hold down a job, then everybody should be able to do this. They don't understand what a psychotic break is - instead they equate it with the danger of a psycho killer - throw them in prison and lock away the key to protect society. Very few people have experience with psychosis. Fewer still actually have an understanding of it. As a result, it is hard for them to empathize. Without empathy, there is no possibility of increasing treatment, decreasing costs of treatment, or increasing an emphasis on rehabilitation so that people can get stable, stay stable, and become constructive members of society. It is much easier to stigmatize, not understand, and lock them in prison.

Yes, a prison bed costs less for a night, a year, whatever. But if you looked at it as a matter of paying now, for a fraction of a person,s life, to help them get stable (if possible) so that they can become taxpayers themselves instead of putting them in jail and prison throughout their lives - the end result is a quite different equation. Further, since the severely mentally ill are most apt to be preyed upon in prison, we are doing the non-mentally ill prisoners a favor by housing them there. Instead, we strip away the rehabilitation opportunities for prisoners, leaving them to not change how they do things, how they think of things, and the most predatory of them continue to prey on the weakest - the elderly, the mentally ill, and the physically handicapped. Might as well spend their time in prison honing their skills, right? Then they come back to prison, too.

Not that the severely mentally ill were much for voting anyway, but if you turn them into felons, they can't vote. They are not going to look to get their rights back at a later date because they are too sick to actually figure out that it might actually help them.

Dude in the instant case is an example of the failure of America to care for its most vulnerable.

I am glad that this stuff is coming to light, but at the cost of a person,s tongue? Wow.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:20 AM
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I did not read the article.
but I did want to say....at least he was not shot and killed.
That seems to be the outcome I hear about.
And THAT is sad.

I dont have the answers but something has got to be done somehow.
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