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FLDOC - What You Need to Know Information relating to the Florida Department of Corrections. Q&A for those new to the FLDOC system should be posted here.

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Old 11-05-2017, 09:47 PM
Grlnxtdr88 Grlnxtdr88 is offline
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Question For what should I pray?? Prison or Mental Health confinement?

Where to start??? This month is the 2 year anniversary of "the event". My son has been on psych meds since 15yrs old. Very loving, no arrests, no violence and could hold a job for several months at a time when he was "good". At 24 yrs old, Son went off his meds & had a violent psychotic event, killed 2 people & stabbed a LEO. He is facing the death penalty. The thought of that possibility isn't even something I can entertain in my mind. He's still in County and had been calling me 7-8 time daily crying. I've finally made progress & got his psych meds straightened out in jail and he is doing much better. Because he has food and is allowed to sleep whenever he wants, he doesn't mind jail right now & says he just wants to get this over with. He says he just wants to come home and he hopes the judge understands that he would never do something like this on his meds. While I know this is true, the point is moot in a court of law. Whether guilty or NGRI, he will likely be in custody for life. Prison is violent but psych can challenging in its own right. Because he does well when on his meds, my question is: Should I pray for prison or mental health confinement?
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:30 PM
Minor activist Minor activist is offline
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Pray for what you need. Strength first, then wisdom.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:47 AM
xolady xolady is offline
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I don't know he'd probably do better in prison from what I understand the psych facilities are horror shows. Florida is a very hard state for anyone with mental health issues, any health issues in prison. Make sure you have a hippa release form from each and every place he goes, just pray for a better out come.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:37 PM
onedayatatime13 onedayatatime13 is offline
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Pray for what will bring him ease and grace while he is there.
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:31 AM
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I'd start reading memoirs from mothers who had children convicted of first degree murder. You might find great comfort from their perspective. You might also want to find Kent Whitaker,s book about his son, Bart, who's on Texas Death Row for killing Bart's mother and brother and trying to kill Kent. The road to forgiveness is a touching story. Bart has. Ablog that's also worth reading.

If he's facing death or NGRI, I'd be praying for the NGRI. Realistically. The NGRI is not going to happen. It is useful to get a diminished capacity or imperfect insanity sort of defense in which the degree of penalty is lowered by one. So, if it otherwise would be death, then the result would be LWOP. If LWOP, then LWP.

What you need to do is to help get your son prepared to sit through trial and deal with the results, no matter what they are. He needs to understand he's not coming home. Not tomorrow, not next year, and not any time soon. You need to start preparing him for that eventuality and building his resilience so that he can deal with whatever comes, no matter what it is. You can rehearse it with him. You can start working with him on a statement of responsibility and remorse for sentencing, should it come to sentencing. You want him active in helping you come up with a list of people who will write character letters for him, should he need it.

You want to start working with him actively on prison etiquette. You want to talk with him about his responsibilities to you and yours to him once this is over - about visiting, money on his books, your expectation that he will take his meds and communicate to you should he start having troubling symptoms - whatever you can come up with so that he feels in control of himself as whatever's going to happen happens.

Talk about school. Talk about what you want to see him doing in as far as religion and AA/NA groups if either are relevant. You might want to talk with a psychiatrist/psychologist about what you can do to help him deal with remorse. I doubt he's really processed everything that's happened - what it means to take a life. In jail, its very difficult to get into the emotions of all of that. Him being able to touch his sense of culpability in a way that will not only help him emotionally, but help him convey that emotion to a judge....

You will eventually need to sit down with a wills, trusts, and estates lawyer so that he can be taken care of once you pass, assuming he's spending the rest of his life incarcerated one way or another. But that can wait. Wrap your mind around it a bit now, but don't act until you know exactly what he's facing.

You need to go to pains to take care of yourself now, and as trial approaches. You cannot be there for him if you are run down. Make sure you do something each week just for you, something that helps to sustain you. Put a time limit on your active worry about your son. You can't take a break from all the worry - it's always with you. You can take a break from the active worry. Limit calls. Write him, and make him write you. Let him know that letters help as you can reread them whenever you want and know his hand was right there.

Make him responsible for family matters - send a letter to dad for his birthday, send a letter to the family for the holidays. If he has kids, make sure he's remembering their birthdays and start of school. Make him active in their Little League games and whatnot. Sleeping all day is not a good thing for his mind, his trial readiness, or his family. Further, he can't convince a judge that he's taking control of himself if he's passively letting jail take care of everything and absolving him of his outside responsibilities.

You are on a very tough road with your son. I don't envy you. I have two friends who have lost their siblings to execution in Florida, and one friend from law school who prosecuted a death penalty case. In all instances, everything changes. No matter what the outcome, nothing is ever the same.

I also have a friend serving LWOP+10 in Tennessee. His mother died less than 10 years after he went to prison at 26. You cannot let this eat you up or you won't be able to be there for him. She let it eat her, and she died as a result. Don't be like her. Take care of yourself.
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:15 PM
Minor activist Minor activist is offline
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>Should I pray for prison or mental health confinement?

Here's something that works for some people and would give you that boost that comes from helping others. If it succeeds your son will benefit.

You can try to join with others and press for improvement to Florida's corrections system. From what I've read, both the prison and the mental health systems there have a lot of room for improvement. I don't know who does what in Florida but Google will know, and your local Quakers are a good bet.

But the important thing here is my heart goes out to you and I hope you collect strength from every source you can.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:33 AM
Charlie's Mom Charlie's Mom is offline
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Pray for the best possible outcome. No matter what, you will never know what would have happened with the other outcome. Neither outcome is particularly good in Florida.

Pray for courage and strength because you have a long road ahead.
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florida, lwop, mental health, ngri, son

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