1. --- THE GOOLSBY FAMILY. In December 2011, Exposed: FreeSpeakBlog published a report about the Goolsby family in Georgia. Ms. Goolsby had two sons who were imprisoned due to mental illness, a teenager and a 22-year-old. Both have had mental health issues since early childhood. In December, Ms. Goolsby reported that her teen was in solitary confinement and had been awaiting transfer to a mental hospital since spring of 2011, but there was apparently no space available for him. Her 22-year-old reported that he was raped and hit in the head with a pipe while imprisoned. His head was bleeding when he talked with his mom, although he had gotten stitches. Ms. Goolsby asked me to present the problems to you, my readers, and I did that over the Holidays, asking that individuals and organizations make it possible for Ms. Goolsby to visit her sons. Since then, things have improved for the family.
(A) Ms. Goolsby's teenage son is now in Georgia Regional Mental Hospital instead of in solitary in jail.
(B) Ms. Goolsby's older son is now in a maximum security prison. That seemed worse to Ms. Goolsby since he has very little time remaining on his sentence. But I told her the new prison likely has better security for her son, allowing someone with his mental disability more protection against being brutalized and raped by inmates without having to be in solitary. I hope I was right.
2. --- ESTEBAN GARCIA. If you listen to the Rev. Pinkney Blogtalk shows on Sundays at 5pm EST, you probably heard Esteban Garcia speak to the listening audience in January and again in February. Mr. Garcia is author of "U.S. Jailhouse Lawyers Manual" and director of the Texas and Missouri Writ Writers Association. He is also director of the U.S. Prison Reform Coalition. Mr. Garcia will be in Atlanta, Georgia on May 20 for a book signing and to meet with individuals and organizations that have an interest in prison reform. His latest book is "U.S. Jailhouse Lawyers Manual - The Unconstitutional Plea." If you live in the area or plan a visit around that time, please save the date and plan to spend that Sunday afternoon with us at Auburn Street Library.
3. --- Former activist lawyer, Lynne Stewart, will get another day in court on February 29, 2012, when her appeal will be heard. At age 70, the renowned attorney was sentenced to prison for 28 months for zealously defending a client. She was arrested and disbarred after defending an activist who stood against Egypt's dictator, Hosni Mubarak, years before the people's uprising in 2011. In July 2010, Judge Koeltl increased Ms. Stewart's sentence from 28 months to 10 years on allegations of perjury during her initial trial. Ralph Poynter, co-host of the Rev. Pinkney Blogtalk Radio show, former teacher and union organizer, invites support for Ms. Stewart. http://lynnestewart.org/2012/01/31/about-the-court-argument-on-the-29th-of-february/ - Please read about her and the appeal at the preceding link and at http://lynnestewart.com/ .
4. --- Rev. Pinkney and residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan face many challenges, but they are fighting back. In 2011, the city's elected officials were essentially removed from office and an emergency manager was appointed in their stead. Residents consider this taxation without representation. Racism and disenfranchisement of the city's residents are oppressive. Numerous people have gone missing, and there have been suspicious deaths. There is a major land dispute regarding a golf course for the elite. You are invited to join Benton Harbor and "OCCUPY THE PGA" on May 23. The fact that people are standing together to resist oppression in Benton Harbor is good news. Google "BH Banco" site for more information.
5. --- Support for the mentally ill in America is growing. Several years ago when my brother, Larry Neal, was killed under secret arrest and my family was denied records and due process of law, I looked online and called mental heath organizations in search of one that was specifically dedicated to assisting the incarcerated mentally ill. I found none specifically dedicated to justice issues although 1.25 million prisoners are mentally ill to some degree. There was also very little information about imprisoned mentally ill people online. Therefore, I founded ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL (AIMI) to help raise awareness about the fact that 1.25 million mentally ill Americans are incarcerated for behavior that arose out of that common, treatable health condition. Over 300 people joined the organization at Care2 Network. Members include persons who are mentally ill, families with mentally ill members, mental health care professionals, human and civil rights activists, law enforcement personnel, veterans, and others. I published our announcement for AIMI in December 2007 at NowPublic.com. The announcement stopped responding to my online search, so I published it again. Since that time, thousands of emails, at least a thousand online articles and blogs, hundreds of telephone calls were made and letters and videos were published to
(a) help decriminalize mental illness,
(b) dispel the stigma associated with diseases of the mind and brain damage from accidents or war,
(c) save mental patients and others from execution, wrongful convictions, and excessive sentencing, plus object to children being tried and sentenced as adults,
(d) promote assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs for mentally challenged persons exiting prisons and hospitals to reduce recidivism, as propounded by Treatment Advocacy Center,
(e) support individual families and patients seeking treatment in areas where community care and hospital beds were reduced,
(f) protest restrictions on enforced treatment until patients prove to be "dangerous to self and others" by committing crimes, including suicide,
(g) reduce homelessness, imprisonment and preventable deaths among acute mental patients, including PTSD veterans
(h) champion congressional bills that give assistance to the mentally ill and notify the public about such bills
(i) fill the news gap regarding tragedies that befall the mentally ill, including police brutality, community brutality, prisoner abuse and wrongful deaths of mentally ill persons,
(j) encourage mentally ill persons to seek psychiatric help timely and continue their prescribed treatment programs,
(k) give a public forum for mentally ill persons and their families and next friends to invite help on petitions, interact with others who share their situation, give and receive advice and practical help from AIMI members and online guests who visit AIMI at http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/aimi and read my articles at MaryLovesJustice, FreeSpeakBlog, Mary Neal on Hub Pages, NowPublic.com, Care2 Sharebook, and social media, like Twitter - @koffietime http://twitter.com/koffietime
(l) honor and emulate Dorothea L. Dix, our predecessor who decriminalized mental illness in the 1900s and was responsible for the nation's first generation of mental hospitals and some in Europe, and serve in other ways.
6. --- At first, there seemed to be little concern about incarcerated mental patients. Although most families have someone who is impacted by drug addiction, alcoholism or mental illness, many families were apparently too embarrassed to be advocates for their relatives. Communities needed help recognizing that there are no disposable people. Some of the world's most gifted people have mental illness. A short list is at my Care2 profile page. Noted scientists, mathematicians, musicians, great writers, actors, politicians as well as plain Janes and regular Joes wrestle with mental illness. Mental illness need not embarrass victims and their relatives or erode community safety. And neither should mental health challenges relegate people in this country to life in prison or permanent entrapment in the revolving door to/from correctional institutions. Psychiatric treatment and medications have improved significantly over the past few decades to the point that most people with mental illness are able to function well and live wholesome lives outside a controlled environment. But that chronic health condition is like heart disease and diabetes, which require monitoring.
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7. --- Within the past four years, the quest to assist mentally ill people, especially prisoners, has increased substantially. Assistance to the incarcerated mentally ill has gone mainstream, even though my own efforts are censored to continue the cover-up regarding Larry Neal's unresolved murder which occurred in 2003 while he was under secret arrest in Memphis Shelby County Jail and was followed by The Cochran Firm's fraud against our family. Having mentally challenged people receive help to avoid incarceration is AIMI's purpose. Thankfully, this is happening to a greater extent than before by numerous activists and organizations. The U.S. Department of Justice sponsors more programs and studies regarding this issue in response to public interest.
8. --- Increased exposure brings greater support for persons dealing with mental illness, just as it did for victims of child abuse and family violence two decades ago. Had there never been brave people willing to discuss those issues on television talk shows, in books and articles, we might have fewer safe houses for battered spouses and children, fewer child protection laws, and more covered-up abuse. This brings me to the final good news report in this article and an invitation for you. Please visit our new blog, Dog Justice for Mentally Ill at http://dogjusticeformentallyill.blogspot.com/ . DogJustice is a site for people who need help regarding mental health issues, including but not limited to the criminal justice system, and professionals who wish to make public services announcements offering legal assistance, housing, re-entry programs, counseling, and other services. My own input beyond promoting the site will be minimal, as the blog is for families and professionals to present your issues and services. You are invited to join or follow. Our announcement is at MaryLovesJustice blog: http://marylovesjustice.blogspot.com/2012/02/become-dog-justice-member.html in an article entitled "BECOME A DOG JUSTICE BLOG MEMBER"
9. --- Our first announcements for ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL were published at NowPublic.com, then carried on the congressional websites of some of my Georgia representatives and made front page at Care2 News Network. That fine beginning made me believe we might have the prisons half empty, mental hospitals reopening, and assisted outpatient treatment programs going all over the country within months. NOT! I did not know at the time the advocacy to decriminalize mental illness was censored, which is probably why my first announcement for AIMI stopped responding to my browsing after a couple of weeks. That led me to make a new announcement, and it has been a rough ride ever since. Please ignore the contact information at the announcements below; it is dated. Try emailing me at MaryLovesJustice@gmail.com or calling 678.531.0262. If I receive your email or message, I will respond within two days. There is still much work to be done to replace punishment with treatment for the mentally ill in America. Both links are below.
ANNOUNCING ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL ("AIMI"), a/k/a THE DOROTHEA DIX GROUP
announcement 1, published December 2, 2007: http://www.nowpublic.com/health/announcing-assistance-incarcerated-mentally-ill
announcement 2, published January 15, 2008: http://www.nowpublic.com/health/announcing-assistance-incarcerated-mentally-ill-aimi
10. --- We invite your help giving Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill. Thanks to numerous grass roots organizations, activists, and Internet companies that help to publish AIMI's articles and otherwise participate in advocacy for the mentally ill. This issue can and does affect us all to some degree. We are all neighbors to one another and shop at the same malls. The downside to ignoring this issue are many avoidable conditions, including overcrowded prisons and over $50billion per year for incarceration costs, not counting law enforcement, court costs, and attorney fees for indigent persons. Of course, the most important issue about ignoring the need to treat and not punish our mentally ill family members and neighbors is that discrimination for reason of health disabilities was declared illegal long ago, and it is immoral to punish anyone based on their health status. America can and should do better than this.
11. --- My next good news report regards why the new DogJustice blog will "run itself" and the famous painting below: "He Ain't Heavy." Thank you for your attention to this report from Mary Neal and AIMI.