Thoughts on Psychiatric Incarceration When Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity


“If you don’t agree with your psychiatrist, make yourself at home.”

We are, more and more, as individuals with “mental health diagnoses,” living in a reality of senselessness, absurdity and and arbitrary outcomes.  While I often believe that our movement simply calls itself a movement, but does not really move at all, it is in fact possible today to say that we are part of a post-Justina movement. The attention to her case highlights both the senselessness and the absurdity, but perhaps not the arbitrary nature of how the system functions for those it impacts.

Her story is sympathetic and compelling.  It has mobilized some individuals within our movement come together and support an amazing young woman in a way that she sorely needed.  That is a good thing.  Justina has gone home.  But, hers is only one story.  Today, I respectfully present you with one more.  One more of thousands that could have been mine or, possibly, yours.

John Rorher, my friend and comrade, was found not guilty of assault by reason of insanity.  He has been incarcerated in state facilities since 2009, most recently at the Appalachian Behavioral Health facility in Athens, Ohio.  While it is apparent that John has been denied his due legal process in the context of this incarceration, I am not an attorney and subsequently will not attempt to discuss legal aspects of his case in this forum.  I want to discuss John’s story and experience.  I want to discuss my story and experience.  I want readers to know that there are many of us.  What has happened to John can happen to a pretty teenager like Justina.  It can happen to a (former) mental health clinician such as me.  My own story has horrific aspects.  In meeting with John and others, I realize it could have been so much worse.  In this way, the experience of forced mental health treatment is completely arbitrary.

While I feel sympathetic and connected to all survivors as a general state of my being, my visit with John was full of contrasts.  I can’t stop thinking about the contrasts.  I first became aware of John through a MindFreedom Shield alert that was facilitated by Jim Gottstein.  I started to correspond with John, and follow his case.  In early May, I visited.

Athens, Ohio is about a three and one half hour trip from my home in Kent.  I had a lot of time to think in the car.  At the outset, I realized that many of the things that have been concerning me recently would probably soon seem trivial–sleeping on the floor, worrying about money, the status of my organization, my own status within the movement, my lack of professional standing in the mainstream world, my trauma and my memories of my own forced treatment–it could have all turned out so much worse.

Getting into a locked ward at a state facility is not all that easy, that is, if you are someone who retains the freedom to leave at the close of visiting hours.  I drove around and around before finally parking in an area that seemed to be an approximation of where the ward might be.  I had to ask directions of a couple of staff members before finally happening on the right building and entrance.  Going to a locked ward is always a freakish experience for my survivor brain.  But nothing like John’s experience.  Not for four years.  Today, my cell phone, keys and wallet are locked up.  None of these are allowed on the ward.

The unit where John is incarcerated has a large yellow sign on the door.  HIGH RISK OF ESCAPE it says.  I wonder briefly who in their right mind would not try to escape from this place.  People in their right minds.  Wanting to escape.  From a place where they have been put because they are judged to be in their wrong minds.  I have been locked up for a few days at a time.  Each time I could have lost the thought that escaping was the reasonable choice.  The thought could have been taken from me by a longer duration of incarceration, a more intense kind of abuse or even a greater degree of indifference.  It could have been so much worse.

Meeting John for the first time is sort of surreal.  I don’t know if he agrees with my assessment that he and I are not really very different.  I find him to be brilliant in the way that he explains his thought process, and how he has, with practice, become an objective observer of his own thought stream, having the ability to determine for himself what is correct and valuable without application of our culture’s inherent and perverted value system.  He explains this also without the artifice of many of our culture’s “alternative recovery” communities.  There are no prayers in Sanskrit, no binural beats, no talk of “mindfulness” or related  concepts that once seemed so progressive, but have now taken on the same dull, disappointing, ineffectuality of the novice counselor who recommends “exercise” or “deep breathing.”

The one whose every pretentious parroting of his betters in the field confirms how he is merely window dressing for the “team”–a token–that some talk therapy is being implemented along with psychopharmacology.  Another billable hour for the agency.  Not as billable as the psychiatrist.  More billable than the case manager.  I was “out” as a mental patient when I became a clinician.  In the days before the “peer” was the cheapest and most political kind of labor, I was the ultimate billable token.

John tells me there are a lot of people who are similar to him on the unit.  People who have been denied due process, who are forcibly drugged, who are denied the essence of their humanity.  I am curious about what “therapies” are available to John.  He tells me that recently one of the groups offered a word search about boats.  I ask him if he or any of his fellow inmates are planning to sail on their personal yachts soon.  “Yes, I will be taking my catamaran out tomorrow,” he replies.  Another “therapy” involves a staff member asking “How was your day?”

He feels that there is one group, facilitated by a psychologist, in which he is able to be a little more genuine in his expression.  The first time he participated in this group, John explained to the facilitator that he does not agree with his psychiatrist.  To this, the facilitator replied, “Then make yourself at home.”  We discuss the costs of these treatments, not only in the dollars paid directly to the facility for providing them, but in an overall systemic sense–the amount of dollars collected by universities and state licensing boards to qualify people to provide essentially nothing.  The system of forced mental health incarceration has taken on its own life.  To question or to step outside of the prescribed legal and billable boundaries is isolation, poverty, death, or worse, for both the mental health worker and the mental health patient.

The inmates at Applacahian Behavioral Health are all on the “levels” system.  This is a form of behavioral therapy that has been used for many years in forensic settings, as well as in the “treatment” of individuals having developmental challenges.  Simply stated, each level allows or denies different privileges based on the behavior of the person who is “on the program.”  Often, the same levels program will be used for every individual enrolled in a given program, meaning that the goals and the reinforcers are all the same for everyone.  Clearly, receivers of services are objectified in this context by the assumption that they, like identical objects, will respond identically in identical circumstances.  John explains that one possibility to secure his release, should his legal avenues become exhausted, is to “go along with the program.”

Up until this point, John has refused to participate in “the program” any more than is needed to get above level two.  At one point, he was put on level one, which resulted in his incarceration on another, more restrictive unit for individuals who are deemed “more severely ill.”  This evidently also resulted in the loss of minor privileges like using the snack machine or ordering out to a “specific place” once a week.  I think about the politics and the money involved.  Who is profiting from writing one levels plan and then billing it to multiple individuals?  What does it take to become the “specific” establishment to which a captive audience with $10 each in indigent funds is allowed to order on a weekly basis?  Why do John’s forced bi-weekly injections of Risperdal Consta cost $1530, while a 30 day supply of pills costs around $30?

Ultimately, I try to get my mind around what it would be like to be a super-intelligent adult subjected to such demeaning and dehumanizing treatment on a consistent basis for four plus years?  John has recently started to refuse the injections.  When he refuses, he his held down by as many as three staff members and injected against his wishes.  He sometimes has a great deal of trouble thinking and functioning right after an injection.  He is defiant, yet somehow also resigned to making the best of his indefinite period of incarceration.  I have only snippets of of comparable experience:  the time on the “stress reduction” unit at Akron General Medical Center when a nurse asked me to join a group that was making coasters with putty and small tiles.  I told her it insulted my intelligence.

Her reply?  “I can see how you got yourself locked up in here” − with a sneer that came close to spitting on me.  I have nothing as intense as John’s experience.  I have nothing as deep as his insight into what the mad brain is capable of when under prolonged and consistent attack.  High risk of escape on a big yellow sign?  Hell yes.  Tattoo it on my forearm.

“I am a real human being, endowed by my Creator with free will, and I have the intellectual capacity to participate in treatment decisions. Receiving permission to hurt someone does not make it in any way ethical to do so.  My perspective is valid, my objection are sound, and this institution is rationalizing torture.”

John J. Rohrer, June 26, 2014
Forcibly injected every 2 weeks
Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, Athens, Ohio


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Hi Sharon,

    It’s certainly not a ‘crack’ that anyone would want to fall into where I live.

    “At the moment we detain and treat people with a mental illness worse than someone who knew what they doing when they committed the offence.” S Boulter MHLC

    and of course later in the article we hear the apologist politician

    ” it’s not about incarcerating them it’s about caring for them.” Dr Graham Jacobs

    Clever calling incarceration ‘care’.

    Its shameful that people who are not seen as being responsible for offences can be punished for them in a manner much worse than someone who is. I wish you luck in assisting John in ‘escaping’ the trap he has fallen into.

    Kind regards

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  2. Hi Sharon,

    This is something somebody really needs to writing about, and I’m glad you are doing so.

    People who are held NGRI tend to do more time in the mental health system than they would have done in the criminal justice system, and this in itself is a travesty of justice. Sometimes they are held for lengthy stretches of time over the most trivial of offenses.

    As you point out, in John’s case, he is being subjected to depot injections of Risperadal. Rather than chugging down a couple of pills everyday, he is given a single injection every two weeks. These injections are much more potent than the doses you get with single pills, and thus the patient is subject to more severe adverse effects, together with an increased possibility of experiencing permanent injury as a result.

    The mistreatment of people held NGRI can go beyond anything else in either the mental health or the criminal justice system. We should not be mistreating people in this fashion and, in the process, seriously jeopardizing their health.

    Thank you for bringing this subject to light. I sincerely hope we can get more people involved in the struggle to end this kind of abuse.


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  3. Thank you for this brilliant piece! I’ve spent 13 years as an Illinois attorney advocating for and representing NGRI “patients” in the Land of Lincoln. Almost nobody wants to think about violent criminal psychotics who have evaded criminal punishment by getting “hospitalized” instead. These people are enslaved, for profit: that’s the simplicity of it as your article brings out so well.

    And exactly as in the past with African chattel slavery in America, everyone is happy to turn their eyes away and believe it’s what’s best, it’s what the slaves deserve or better than what they deserve.

    I am an abolitionist. This is NOT what’s best for anybody. It’s a cruel and dehumanizing racket, and guess what? It hurts those of us who blindly pay for it with our taxes more than anyone else.

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    • But the public needs a boogey man and “criminally mentally ill” are perfect. Recently in Poland there was a good example of mass media hysteria about a man who was a convicted murderer and a pedophile. The story goes like that:
      A man called Trynkiewicz committed hideous crimes (raping and killing of young boys) during the communist regime in Poland and was sentenced to death. While he was on death row the change of political system came about and amnesty was issued which abolished the death penalty. The move in my mind was a good thing, there was however one caveat: the law at the time did not allow for life sentence, the longest sentence being 25yrs so all the death sentences were changed to 25yrs instead, which was an obvious example of political mindlessness. Recently the guy finished the sentence and was about to be released. Consequently a media hysteria followed with apocalyptic scenarios of death, rape and destruction as a result of releasing this single guy from prison screaming from newspapers and TV. Which prompted politicians to adopt a new law allowing for anyone who finished a prison sentence for “serious crime” to be re-evaluated by psychiatrists and locked up indefinitely in a mental institution if deemed “dangerous”. Consequently Mr Trynkiewicz is now being locked up in a secure ward. While I have no sympathy for the guy I don’t think I have to explain danger of such legal loopholes which can lead to indefinite detention of people without any possibility of parole. I don’t know if the measure specifically allows for forced drugging and such but I believe that it allows for not well defined “treatment” which we can predict could involved anything from drugs to ECT.
      Things like that really make me depressed. I have a feeling that in terms of legal measures our movement is going 1 step froward and 2 back. And I don’t even necessarily believe that it’s somehow a result of our inaction of inefficiency but rather of unfortunate trends of societies to turn to more authoritarian measures and creation of the “other” in dire economic times.

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  4. To the bone, Sharon! And brilliantly written. Seems the closer people get to the reality of what is called “care” in psychiatry, the more truly simply wrong it appears, and so the more directly one can calmly describe it.

    Evidently, the nurse who kept asking with all the asinine effect of the mean high school girl, if I knew why I was there, has at least two jobs.

    After being told that the Valentine’s day card I was making with crayon for my one true friend (and I his) was “awesome”, I responded with something like, ‘Guess those 60 completed hours of studio art are paying off.’ It was infantilizing— I don’t say that to five year-olds. Random complements to “boost self-esteem” are garbage and children know it. Also, it appears that being an artist is a sign of bipolar disorder, now.

    It’s all so ridiculous.

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  5. Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare is a non-smoking facility. Found that out looking online for a photo of this place. Reading about this “hospital” had me wondering how difficult it would be commit suicide in this place ?

    No cigarettes , surely no coffee, neuroleptics, does this nightmare also include gender segregation?

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    • Thanks for the comment and question. I don’t know how easy it would be to commit suicide there. John resists suicidal thoughts with every fiber of his being, as he has stated in affidavits. We have wanted it to be perfectly clear that if ABH’s drugs finally do kill him, that this tragedy could not be disguised as a suicide. ABH has been warned, educated, and provided numerous studies, and even a doctor’s opinion from the outside, that make it perfecty clear that they are commiting malpractice. There is essentially no accountability, just like there wasn’t for most of the psychiatrists who enabled the Holocaust.

      Patients are allowed one or two cups of coffee daily, between certain hours, in the morning. The wards are not segregated by gender, but within the rooms, they are.

      There is basically no therapy provided, although on occasion “groups” are run. Oftentimes the “groups” consist of handing out drug company literature – such as from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, or Eli Lilley. ABH basically serves as a marketing agent for Big Pharma – so that patients will not see any option except drug akathisia and permanent disability for life. Even though probably most if not all of the patients are abuse and trauma survivors, there is no group for them. How could there be? If victims were ever to be empowered, they might challenge their oppression in the hospital, as some still do.

      John was one of the few, if not the only one, who had the inner resources to work hard to educate fellow patients. He was even allowed to facilitate therapy groups with others, which, according to ABH nurses, helped other patients. ABH stopped that from happening in February, 2014, the same month the Supreme Court action was filed. When John circulated a petition last year protesting abusive treatment of patients by a specific nurse, which more than half the ward bravely signed, the psychiatrist forced another drug on him – Depakote.

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    • In theory the defendant chooses to plead NGRI, and must prove it. Also in theory, the prosecutor’s job is to obtain a guilty verdict — so NGRI is a loss for him/her.

      In reality, a criminal defendant with any history of mental illness is often defrauded and bullied into the NGRI plea, by a public defender or private attorney who just doesn’t want to put in the effort required to win a not guilty verdict or to negotiate a more reasonable plea bargain. “NGRI” quickly and cheaply disposes of ugly cases — or at least that’s how it looks, from the short-term view of the legal system.

      Defendants may initially think they’re getting an easy sentence to a “hospital” rather than to prison, only to find out later that being “treated” psychiatrically is its own grim punishment, and prison would have been a more honest bargain with society, not to mention a shorter term.

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  6. Gosh thank you so much for this article. This subject of involuntary “treatment” or incarceration as I called it in the first article I ever wrote for MIA is one of the subjects I think the most about. It’s an area where I feel the most able to be open to discussion and influence.

    Thankfully, I start with what I feel like is the “right” general principle for me: as a broad statement, I don’t believe in involuntary “treatment.” That belief was one I came to in part by naively accepting a position with a “secure psychiatric residential facility” under the deeply misguided belief that people who were there “needed” to be there and I was “helping” by working there. Wow was I wrong. I quit.

    I admit that there are still some concrete particular situations that give me pause. I worked with a guy who was arrested for trying to set his neighbors on fire because he believed he was being commanded to do so. He was in the middle of the act when he was stopped. He was psychiatricly hospitalized.

    It seems clear to me that I could not in good conscience simple advocate for him to be released right back to next door to the neighbors he tried to set on fire without some kind of change in his thinking or disposition. I feel like I have to be concerned about the safety of his neighbors. But in discussion here, some have advocated that the right choice was for him to go to jail. They point out that the main reason jail feels like the wrong choice is because of a misguided notion that somehow psychiatric hosptialization would be more kind or more helpful. People challenge that belief and I hear those challenges and they resonate with me. I still struggle a bit with the idea of putting someone in jail who doesn’t have a clear understanding that what they were doing was wrong. But this is circular, because it goes back to the point made that psychiatric hospitalization is not better in most cases (maybe all cases, but I try not to speak in absolutes.)

    It feels like a very difficult and painful question. How do I honor both the individual experience distress and the community that may or may not be at safety risk by that distress? Long term, it seems clear to me that need a totally different way of trying to support people that doesn’t involve power institutions coercively intervening. But then I do run into some specific situations that still feel really hard and honestly no option I can think of feels like a good one.

    Again, thank you for this article. I feel really open around this subject, including listening to other voices grappling with the issues here. Again, the thing I am fully confident about, is that my guiding principle is that I don’t believe in forced treatment.

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    • People who have committed violent criminal acts need to be secured to a point where they present no immediate danger to civil society. It doesn’t matter what rationale they present for their actions, this is done to protect others’ right to be free from victimization. It also doesn’t matter whether they understand whether or not something they did was right or wrong, because at this primary level of incarceration it is, again, society’s collective self-interest being protected from present danger.

      The notions of rehabilitation and punishment are both of secondary concern, and should not be confused with the primary reason for incarceration, collective security.

      Needless to say, none of these concerns have anything to do with “mental health.”

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  7. Don’t know what to say. Cried as I read this. The product information itself proves that forcing someone to take this and suffer the effects is torture, (not to mention having an injection painfully forced into your muscle tissue, nor the humiliation of having your pants and underwear pulled off you, your face planted into the linoleum.) The problems with the injections are well documented. It’s not unheard of for an injector to miss a muscle, for the target simply to have too little muscle, for the target to metabolize the drug in an unexpected way and hopefully end up in the ICU, as opposed to being left in bed to die. Then there are the problems with stopping the injections should a horrible enough effect necessitate it, which include withdrawal psychosis, and the potential for overdose when starting another medication with one already coursing the system. People drop dead and the system shrugs. I wish your friend good luck, and you. I remember how it felt when I rolled just to get out, to save my own life. Agreed with everything the sadist who repeatedly overdosed me said, told him everything he was panting over about my sex life and sexual abuse, and put the cherry on top by thanking him for helping me. I was discharged almost immediately. I survived, or did I. And people wonder why I can’t force a sunny outlook.

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  8. Be warned, what I am about to say is controversial, but first, something that I do not think should raise controversy around here: NOBODY SHOULD BE FORCED ON RISPERDAL regardless of any other consideration. No qualifier, period.

    Risperdal is the first neuroleptic I was put on to so called “augment” the effect of SSRI Lexapro when I was locked up for OCD. I got akathisia from it very quickly and my shrink moved me to Zyprexa, which gave me all sorts of other problems.

    Now to the controversial part. I think that the problem is with the existence of the insanity defense. It should be abolished.

    I don’t know the particulars of this case -whether the insanity defense was part of a plea deal or it was forced on the victim of the forced Risperdal- but over and over again people forget that one is always better treated as a regular criminal defendant than as somebody deemed “crazy” by the courts.

    Writer Jon Ronson explains in this talk the case of somebody he identifies as “Tony” . The story begins around 5:00. Incidentally, Jon Ronson got to meet Tony through CCHR UK. You are welcome to listen to the whole story, which is told in a very entertaining way although the issue is no laughing matter. Basically, “Tony” had been charged with the US equivalent of “manslaughter”. To avoid jail, he decided to fake “madness” only to end up involuntarily committed in the UK’s most notorious mental institution for criminal defendants. What would have been a 5-7 year sentence ended up being a 12 years involuntarily committed. He only got out after a lengthy appeal process. What made his case even more strange, is that the psychiatrists who committed him, ended up admitting that he had faked madness to avoid prison but, in a Rosenhan like fashion, they couldn’t let go of considering Tony insane so he remained committed under the excuse that he was a psychopath as evidenced by the fact that he had faked madness to avoid prison. You cannot make this stuff up!

    So, I am with Szasz: the insanity defense should be abolished. Even those who are “out of their minds” when they commit a crime would benefit as well from a regime that does not let psychiatrists/psychologists determine who was in his/her “right mind” when he/she committed a crime.

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    • Hey cannotsay2013 – The Tony story did make for a gripping read in Ronson’s book, however Tony did not kill the person he attacked, he beat them very badly. Also, the striking thing about Tony’s diagnosed “psychopathy” was that almost everything he told his initial diagnosing psychiatrist was copied verbatim from a popular movie (ironically I forget which one,) as reflected in his medical records.

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  9. “Why do John’s forced bi-weekly injections of Risperdal Consta cost $1530, while a 30 day supply of pills costs around $30?”

    Of course society would kick this guy to the curb while at best allowing him to have a mere 700 a month on SSI with a 2,000 resource limit. But they’re paying doctors and hospitals many billions of dollars collectively to “treat” these people on their behalf. I’ve written about this before and it’s sickening. Almost all psychiatric “care” is paid for with tax dollars, since few people deemed “seriously mentally ill” would ever have access to private health insurance or have lots of money in the bank. It ought to be treated as a crime against humanity with psychiatrists being brought on trial for it… but that would only happen in a perfect world.

    He’s right that they are just rationalizing torture. But of course society is knowingly and willingly paying them to administer that torture. They are living upper class lifestyles, completely undeserved, “earned” by wrecking the brains and ruining the lives of some of societies most vulnerable people.

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  10. Sharon (and all),

    Thanks for bringing this issue out. It is time for the movement to fully support individuals who are labeled as NGRI, which has not always happened due to many of us having our own prejudices about people accused or convicted of crimes.

    I agree that we have to abolish the insanity defense and forensic psychiatry. While those two are not the same – in theory it is possible to abolish forensic psychiatry but retain the insanity defense – I think there are good reasons to do away with both.

    Forensic psychiatry is just another psychiatric commitment and forced treatment regime and so it is wrong and violates human rights for the same reasons as civil commitment. With respect to the insanity defense, I think that we have to separate the question of moral blame and punishment from disability. What does it mean for anyone to know right from wrong?

    It comes down to questions of subjective perception and experience, what did the world look like to the person when she/he committed the offense and given that, would we still apply a judgement of moral and legal responsibility? I would support this kind of inquiry to be part of an adjudication of criminal responsibility, if we want to accommodate concerns about unfairness in the application of criminal law to people experiencing altered reality. In a paper that I have submitted for publication, I propose such an alternative as a disability-inclusive way of dealing with fairness concerns that may not be otherwise accommodated, while the insanity defense as we know it should be abolished.

    But at the same time I would be concerned about an open-ended inquiry that could simply accommodate existing prejudices of all kinds – race and gender in particular (witness the application of the Stand Your Ground defense).

    In any case, thank you for opening up needed discussion. I had not been aware that John Rohrer’s case involved NGRI, but I wrote an affidavit for his case on the international law supporting a prohibition of forced psychiatric interventions. That can be accessed on the CHRUSP website at or on PsychRights.

    All the best,


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    • Excellent post Tina, as always.

      Those who believe in insanity defense and forensic psychiatry always forget that they only offer Faustian bargains. Everybody is better off, even those who were “out of their minds” when committing a crime, when the law is applied equally to all.

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    • Pretty much agreed I think — it has always been a common practice to consider “extenuating circumstances” while considering conviction & sentencing, and it can always be argued that one’s state of mind at the time was one of these.

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      • Agreed. It is a standard thing for a judge to take the personality and state of mind as well as past behaviour of the accused into account when issuing a verdict. People often get lower sentences or probation based on the fact that criminal acts were committed under high emotional states etc. I don’t see why taking psychosis into account in a similar manner should be any different.

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    • “In a paper that I have submitted for publication, I propose such an alternative as a disability-inclusive way of dealing with fairness concerns that may not be otherwise accommodated, while the insanity defense as we know it should be abolished.”
      I’d love to read it…

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  11. I think it’s important for people to know that John had never been accused of assaulting anyone until he entered Ohio’s mental illness system in connection with a victimless trespass. It was not until he was forced to live in a violent state- “supervised” group home where he was repeatedly assaulted, that he struck another person. At the time he was also bleeding from another assault, and a head injury, and had recently been vomiting. He struck the person ONCE, in an apparent desperate hope that this might stop him from continuing to be victimized by his attackers in the group home. He had asked to be transferred from that Hell, but was told to deal with it, basically. Besides the head injury, he was also at the time being required by a government psychiatrist to take SSRI drugs and a neuroleptic, since the government could not recogtnize that John might be depressed from the way events in his life were spiraling out of control. The DSM even then agreed that these drugs cause akathisia that is said to be causally related to violence:

    “Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medications may produce akathisia that appears identical in phenomenology and treatment response to Neuroleptic-Induced Acute Akathisia” [DSM-IIV-TR, p. 801]

    The FDA also admitted even then, that another huge factor associated with violence, “mania” is also encouraged by SSRI drugs, in its March 22, 2004 warning:

    “Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement, mild mania] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur and overproduction of ideas], have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants.” [FDA Public Health Advisory, March 22, 2004. “Worsening Depression and Suicidality in Patients Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications,”]

    The public defender brought up none of this, simply agreeing with everything the prosecutor wanted. He could have used the involuntary intoxication defense, which is a well-recognized complete defense that is different from “insanity”. It has been so recognized for more than a century. 1 Hale, History of the Pleas of the Crown 32 (1778). See also Pearson’s Case,168 Eng. Rep. 1108 (1835). (Note also the case of Tobin v.
    SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, 164 FSupp.2d 1278 (D. Wyo. 2001)(6 million dollar verdict to survivors of a man who killed wife, daughter, baby granddaughter, and then himself while under the influence of Paxil, an SSRI anti-depressant, jury finding that Paxil contributed 80% to the proximate cause of the deaths).

    Involuntary intoxication could have served either as a complete defense, as it always has, or at least in mitigation of the punishment by hospitalization that was a foregone conclusion. Once the SSRI drugs were removed as they eventually were, it would have been clear that involuntary hospitalization would help no one – not John, not “society”. But with the kind of “representation” he received at the commitment “hearing” – none of this information came out.

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    • Mental patients’ advocates are largely a joke everywhere. And what you’re describing is one more evidence that psychiatry a) protects the abuser while punishing the abused b) creates situations where abuse is perpetrated and person is re-victimised.

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  12. This is a message from John Rohrer, who, as punishment for physically resisting the Risperdal shot in the past, is now banned from using the computer:

    Side effects of the Risperdal Consta shot: 28 hours in

    It’s hard to find the words

    I feel as if I will expel my lunch

    The horror makes me tic

    I’m faint and life is surreal

    The Parkinsonian bobble of my head and body subtly jitters
    in time with my heart.

    I can see why medicated people kill themselves

    This is a dark place I wouldn’t wish on anyone

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  13. “…and this institution is rationalizing torture.”
    Hell yeah…
    Btw, isn’t it remarkable that you can’t even take your wallet or mobile to that ward? Doesn’t it look like they are scared that someone may actually record something and show the world how things really look like?
    The problem of “not guilty by reasons of insanity” is that people often defend this concept by “we don’t want to put sick people who don’t recognise the consequences of their actions in prisons”. What is not being said is that:
    a) of the people who end up in this category only few really had problems with perception of reality
    b) that these problems are usually temporary, while placing people in this category may result in long, even life-long incarceration for even minor offences which would result in short prison time c) that on a flip side it allows people who are hideous criminals to escape justice
    There was recently an article in press in Austria showing how the system sucks in people who are send to “hospitals” rather than prisons and their incarceration gets prolonged ad infinitum while they would only get a few months, maybe years in the normal system. In Poland now there’s a new bill which allows for indefinite incarceration of anyone who’s finished a legal sentence for a “serious crime” if psychiatrists deem him/her potentially dangerous. These measures are clearly a violation of rules preventing double punishment for the same crime but call it “treatment” and you can do whatever the hell you want. I wonder why patients sometimes get violent and assault the staff? In fact I only wonder why that doesn’t happen more often.

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