Wednesday, August 12, 2020

They OWN your grief

When you’re in the nuthouse and your mother dies, you don’t get a break.

I attended a staffing this morning by teleconference, for a client named David. His mother recently passed away, and the “clinical” conversation today centered in part around whether he was grieving correctly. The treatment team seemed to think that so far, he is. But they are going to keep an eye on him.

I tried to ask questions about how they can tell whether he’s grieving correctly. My questions were not welcome, and I actually became a little angry, because I think any such judgment is subjective, arrogant to an insulting and dehumanizing extreme, and frankly, BULLSHIT. 

I use the word BULLSHIT advisedly here, in the same sense that the esteemed and powerful psychiatrist and author of DSM-IV, Dr. Allen Frances, M.D., used it when he said psychiatric “diagnosis is bullshit”. I didn’t use the word during the staffing.

I was assured that a “clinical” judgment of whether somebody is grieving correctly after his mother dies is not subjective, and it’s certainly not judging the person who grieves. Judging is of course a hot-button word. I probably could have used BULLSHIT and gotten away with that, but when I accuse mental health professionals of judging patients, they are deeply insulted because their whole field is supposed to be a matter of medical science, never morality. Of course everyone grieves differently for different losses at different times. But the morality of allowing them to do so, of granting them some fundamental respect, is completely lost on these “clinicians”.

Nevertheless, the statement about David had been too clear for me to ignore: “He seems to be grieving normally but we’ll keep monitoring him in case it becomes excessive, or a clinical issue.” That couldn’t mean anything other than, there is a difference between appropriate and excessive grieving, and the expert clinicians who would be doing the monitoring of David’s grieving for the loss of his mother have expert ways of telling the difference, or technical criteria, or tests.

So I just wanted to know what these “clinical” ways of telling the difference between correct and incorrect grieving actually were. They didn’t like that at all!

Well... one type of criteria the team mentioned that I can understand is, if a person can’t sleep and isn’t eating, maybe they are grieving incorrectly. But “can’t sleep” means what? One night? Two? Five in the first week after the loss? More than half of nights two months later? Nobody knows, including David’s treatment team, because as they all admitted, everyone grieves differently for different losses at different times. This was his mother....

“Isn’t eating” might be a clear sign if the person actually loses, say, ten or fifteen pounds below a healthy weight. But what a healthy weight even is for different people at different times is arguable; and strangely, David’s treatment team didn’t bother to suggest any objective statistic like that. They simply insisted that their technical expertise, their arrogant “clinical judgment” was obviously the correct measure and the appropriate evaluation.

This evaluation or monitoring of David’s grieving certainly is subjective judging. I suspect the real yardstick, and the real motive, is what drugs do they want to give this patient? As it happens, David’s psychiatrist is very partial to SSRI “antidepressants” so the death of this patient’s mother will probably be a good excuse to prescribe them. 

I wonder whether these clinicians take drugs to grieve correctly, when people they love die. 

But then again, they are “mental health professionals” — not mental patients like David. They are trusted to choose what’s in their own best interests.

Mental patients are not trusted to know anything, especially about themselves. They are a lower order of humanity, and need “clinical” evaluation by their betters, whom they must trust. Slaves once had to trust their owners, too.

The experts even own your grieving! They judge it to be correct, or drugable. Just like the masters once owned your family, and judged whether to sell your spouse or your child down the river.

Elgin Mental Health Center is not a hospital, it’s a slave plantation. I’m for abolition.

Monday, August 10, 2020

“Hospital”

I have a client at Elgin Mental Health Center who really brings out the irony of pretending that a plantation is a hospital. Gus is a royal pain in the posterior of the drivers, overseers and masters. He’s often a royal pain for me, too, because he manages to broadcast a truly obnoxious level of complexity, even in simple situations. It’s almost miraculous, I’m not sure how he does it.

There have been several monthly staffings I attended when Tom Zubik became intensely frustrated by Gus’ long monologues or litanies of complaints about myriad details of his experience as a mental “patient”. Tom is a decent guy in a challenging (to say the least!) job. I’ve frequently felt sympathy for him, but that’s limited by my suspicion that he actually believes Elgin Mental Health Center is a hospital in the sense of an institution which intends to help people. Any such belief is self-deception, born of stupidity, gradually accumulated over many years of bad acts and lies.

This morning nice and early, Gus called me with the announcement that, “We have another serious issue.” 

This is the usual opening statement for about 80% of all phone calls from Gus. It’s almost as predictable as the opening statement for about 95% of all phone calls from MarcI Webber: “I just have a quick question for you.” 

Gus normally proceeds to tell me long narratives full of tiny details of dubious significance under which the “serious issue” he wants to tell me about is entirely buried; and Marci normally proceeds to keep me on the phone for as long as she possibly can, asking an unlimited number of questions to which she either already knows the answer, or which she knows nobody can answer. Man-oh-man, maybe my job is as tough as Tom Zubik’s!

Anyway, this morning Gus was telling me that he has this pain and that pain, and this medical problem and that medical problem, this need for medicine and that need for medicine, this disagreement with the doctors and that disagreement with the doctors.... I was trying to listen and keep track, when Gus said something about Dr. Shaikis threatening to discontinue his ibuprofen. Because Gus has so many pains and medical problems, this was looking like a very serious issue, indeed.

Dr. Shaikis is the current M.D. who deals with the real medical issues (as opposed to psychiatric stuff) on the unit where Gus is held. I don’t know him at all, I even had to ask Gus how to spell his name. 

I tried to get any clarification about why Dr. Shaikis would discontinue ibuprofen. Theoretically there could be various medical reasons. Maybe Gus takes more of it than he’s supposed to, maybe his blood is too thin, maybe some other analgesic is judged to be better in the circumstances. (I’m not a doctor, my understanding of this is entirely that of a layman.) But I was always under the impression that ibuprofen is not a very dangerous drug, especially compared to other so-called “treatments” (e.g., neuroleptics and ECT) that Gus has been prescribed during his years on the plantation.

Well, as it turns out, I’m pretty sure Dr. Shaikis is simply trying to punish Gus for being such a royal nuisance. That’s the only way it makes sense, and I can understand that very well. Shaikis has recently denied Gus several other therapeutic items that he had previously been used to, including a posturepedic cushion and a list of other things which I can’t remember. (This is according to Gus, so of course it’s a list; he probably maintains a whole spread sheet about it.)

Once again, the concept of a hospital does not work or enable any prediction of a doctor’s motive to punish his patient. That’s not what anyone would expect. EMHC cannot be understood as a hospital.

But on a plantation, slaves are routinely punished. That makes sense!

Monday, August 3, 2020

BURN IT DOWN!

This is certainly a season for violent rhetoric. I would hate to fail to contribute my share.

As plaintiffs' attorneys in five federal lawsuits against employees of the Illinois Department of Human Services, my partner and I continue to receive reports from new witnesses and new potential plaintiffs, as well as more evidence proving our current claims. Dominos are about to fall.

Several patients who have spent lots of time on the White Cottage clinical unit at Elgin Mental Health Center have come forward to say that of course Syed Hussain knew our client in one case was having sex with staff! Everybody knew this kind of criminal abuse was frequent and endemic. There was even a specific room notorious for sexual encounters between male staff and female patients. Certain staff handed the women back and forth among each other as favors, under a guise of "introductions".

Everyone is threatened into silence about this kind of abuse, and most lower level unit workers are afraid of gang reprisals for reporting it. Those in higher positions, psychiatrists and administrators, avoid all mention of verbal reports and suspicions so nothing gets written down, and no hard questions will come back from places like Springfield or the Joint Commission.

Just this morning I got a new report that a patient on N Unit was forcibly drugged for no legitimate reason over the weekend. Some night shift nurse was merely annoyed that he wouldn't do a menial task she asked of him, and though he posed no conceivable threat to himself or anyone else, she had him held down and shot up with drugs. It was punishment, to set an example.

Last week a psychiatrist who was once thought to be friendly toward a patient at Chicago Read MHC issued an unsubtle threat: "If you disagree with my diagnosis, maybe I'll just change it to a worse one, how would you like that?" The pretense of medicine is ridiculous.

I could go on and on with examples. It just makes me angry. Suffice it to say one more time: EMHC, Read, and Chester need to be closed, razed, plowed under; and the acreage they have been located on needs to be seeded with radioactive waste so no one can ever live or work there again, for at least a thousand years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The good die young... but the good go free.

My wife and I are saddened by the passing of Kelly Preston. We will miss her, she was a wonderful and beautiful woman.

Not least of her virtues was a complete absence of any need for sympathy or any interest in status as a victim. She never even bothered to mention her two-year battle with cancer to her many admirers and friends. We believe she had absolutely no fear of death.

My own mother passed away with similar nobility, almost exactly two years ago. She didn’t know Kelly, but I suspect they would have gotten along well. Both of them were extremely spiritual, utterly unafraid.

People like this inspire the rest of the human race to live and love.

Thank you!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Good news or just more repression?

Elgin Mental Health Center is offering COVID19 tests for all patients on a voluntary basis. That's a good thing. But of course, it has to be done in the context of a slave plantation mentality to ruin the whole picture.

To date there has been less of a corona virus disaster in Illinois forensic mental health facilities than might have been expected. I predicted a real shit show, and it hasn't happened. Apparently there have been handfuls of cases here and there, or even less than a handful at Elgin. Somebody deserves credit for that.

I'm told that a meeting was held on N Unit announcing to patients they could get tested. One of the guys I advocate for spoke up with the audacious opinion that all staff should be required to be tested. This is a very reasonable idea, whether or not it's completely practical given union concerns, etc.

The patients are easily monitored and their possible exposure to the virus is totally controlled, because they don't go anywhere. They've been on lockdown for months. Almost all activities and "treatments" (other than drug dispensing) have been cancelled. But the staff leave every day, and no one knows with whom they are in contact, whether they social distance, etc. Anyone concerned about an epidemic inside the facility should have their attention on the staff first and foremost.

I can't see how my client's suggestion at the meeting about testing was anything but logical, and in the obvious interests of just about everyone. The only people whose interests are contrary to that suggestion are those who want to say that my client is subhuman, lacking any right to speak up about staff at all under any circumstance, necessarily irrational, and badly behaved from his "mentally ill" brain that needs constant drugging.

There were a couple such people at this meeting, and they just jumped all over my client. His completely reasonable suggestion was considered to be "hostility" caused either by: 1. his bad brain, or 2. his association with me. (Good luck with charting that, guys, or alleging it in court!)

As to 2., yes! Of course the patients on N Unit appear hostile to staff due to their association with me. By association with me, they derive some hope of freedom from psychiatric slavery. The staff would allow them no such hope, that's the design of the system.

Dr. Vikramjit Gill, the N Unit psychiatrist, has been very reasonable in my opinion, in a number of cases. He definitely helped Sean Gunderson get his conditional release. He knows I am not quite so dogmatic about psychiatric drugs as some of his colleagues may think. He and I have had a fairly cordial relationship and some interesting conversations.

Now Dr. Gill tells this particular "patient" that he has changed for the worse, and maybe it's all because he's been talking to me.

Gill has to say that, he is required to think that, by a boss somewhere who can threaten his job and even his professional reputation if he doesn't toe the forensic psychiatric mafia line.

It will get worse for a while, but when abolition is final, Gill will be free, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Chicago Read MH Center: Dr. Sobut vs. honest staff

Dr. Robert A. Sobut is the Plantation Master at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center, where Marci Webber is held. I attended (by teleconference) a monthly staffing today. Sobut struck me as kind of a "gang leader" personality, straight out of some TV show like "Narcos".

That's not, by the way, because he's part of a psychiatric drug-pushing institution (Chicago Read of course is -- if laughingly -- licensed as a "hospital" and Sobut is an M.D. with prescribing privileges), but really because of the way he tries to threaten, intimidate and control everyone around him, and apparently believes he's entitled to do that. Let me explain....

Sobut is one of six signatories at the bottom of a 24-page "90-Day NGRI Treatment Plan Report" sent to the DuPage County Circuit Court for docket # 2010-CF-002643, regarding Marci Webber, dated 5/13/2020. I've never seen a 24-page 90-day report. It actually seems not only unnecessary for such a report to be that extensive, but stupid from the perspective of the people who put it together. When it's that long, it is almost certain to contain something that is provably false.

When somebody signs such a report they are effectively swearing under oath that everything in it is true. The court depends upon these reports as valid "medical records" that are admissible pursuant to the rules of evidence. If something in the report is proven to be false, then somebody may have committed perjury, and the signers, of course, are the first suspects.

Generally the social worker (in this case, Vera Hosely, MA) has the administrative responsibility to word process and get the treatment team's collaboration on the final draft of a 90-day report which is sent to the court. However there are various approval lines. In this case, Dr. Sobut certainly would have had to give his OK. Quite possibly, Timothy Cummings, Anatoiley Pyslar, Adebisi Olasimbo and Sabi Kolath all had some familiarity with this report on Marci before it was finally sent. There may have been somebody higher up the bureaucratic food chain, too. James Patrick Corcoran, perhaps?

There is a paragraph on page 20, which reads:

"It should be noted that frequent behavior management incidents continue to be reported on Ms. Webber by the treatment staff of B-South. For example, on 5/12/2020, she reportedly threw a cup of water at the DD peer with whom she frequently engages in disputes...."

This comes at the tail end of 11 pages, describing about 75 supposed incidents blamed on Marci, said to have occurred between 2/11/2020 and 5/12/2020.

The trouble is, it didn't happen. Somebody just made it up. There is no report of this by the treatment staff of B-South. I don't know how many of the other incidents are equally false, but this one at least provably is. One of the reasons Marci's judge granted her a conditional release last fall was because he had enough evidence that the people saying she needed to stay locked up were liars.

During the staffing today, I had a bit of a confrontation with Robert A. Sobut. I only had two questions. My questions were: 1. Who word-processed or assembled or OK'd the text of the final draft of the 5/13/2020, 90-day report on Marci Webber? and 2. Who added the item on page 20, about Marci throwing a glass of water on 5/12/2020? 

Sobut more or less threw me out of the staffing for insisting on answers to those two questions, although I promised I would shut up and just listen politely for the rest of the time, if he would only answer them. He even asked me to repeat the questions precisely, so he could write them down. Then he just flat-out, arrogantly, refused to answer and refused to even admit he was refusing to answer. That's when I left (hung up).

But the best part came next. People who know they are acting unethically actually try to get caught.

Marci eventually walked out of the staffing, but she stood by the open door and listened. The remaining meeting participants did now know she was there. Vera Hosely, the social worker, immediately protested very anxiously, that she was not the one who put the false report on page 20 about Marci throwing a glass of water. Dr. Pyslar looked uncomfortable and nervously muttered something useless, as he frequently does.

Then Dr. Sobut told everyone: Do not talk to Mr. Kretchmar. Do not tell him anything! This was clearly an order from the boss: obey, shut up, stonewall any investigation, or you'll be in big trouble!

Chicago Read Mental Health Center sure seems to be run by Robert Sobut in the style of an organized crime group. So do all the other facilities run by the Illinois Department of Human Services. So does "forensic mental health" just about everywhere it exists.

And that's because... well, they are organized crime groups!

More on Marci Webber's appeal

The following is an excerpt from pages 44-45 of the appellate Reply filed by Marci's attorneys. This case effectively documents the utter corruption of what the public presumes (because it's been sold to them) to be medicine. The point is, coercive psychiatry is NOT medicine. It never was and never will be.

     "The trial court’s September 2019 opinion also supports that Marci had good reason to distrust Dr. Malis and DHS generally. The judge found it troubling that Elgin Mental Health Center falsified Marci’s records at Dr. Malis’ direct request, and as the trial court noted, the State did not rebut this evidence. (C. 783). Specifically, when a nurse, Terry Nicholas, wrote a positive progress note in Marci’s chart, Dr. Malis “was not pleased with this charting and did not want pleasant things regarding [Marci] reported as it would harm his intent to petition the court to obtain an order for forced medication on [Marci].” (C. 783, R. 2880-2882). In this appeal, the State urges that this Court “not consider [Terry Nicholas’] biased testimony.” (Pl. Brf. 45). In doing so, the State is improperly asking this Court to reweigh the evidence and conduct credibility determinations, while also ignoring the fact that it did not present evidence to contradict Mr. Nicholas’ testimony. Moreover, Dr. Malis admitted that he continued to consider ordering involuntary medication for Marci, and his testimony made clear that his basis for considering such an order was not a concern that Marci was dangerous, but as a means to help Marci cooperate with DHS’ rules and expectations. (R. 2710). Such a purpose does not meet the legal standard necessary for court-ordered involuntary medication. 405 ILCS 5/2-107.1(a)(4).

     "The trial court was understandably further troubled by these events at Elgin Mental Health Center in the context of evidence he received at the 2017 conditional release hearing, which amplified serious discrepancies in Marci’s treatment reports from Chicago Read Mental Health Center. (C. 783-784). Marci’s psychologist at the time, Dr. Jock, testified at the 2017 hearing that Marci did not meet the criteria for any mental illness, she did not exhibit suicidal behavior or dangerousness towards others, and inpatient treatment was no longer necessary. (R. 844, 846, 849). Likewise, Marci’s social worker, Dr. Menezes, similarly testified at the 2017 hearing that Marci did not have a mental illness, was not a danger to herself or others, and did not require inpatient treatment. (R. 801, 805, 807). Yet, both professionals signed Marci’s treatment plan reports that stated she continued to require inpatient care due to her mental illness. (C. 521). Despite this very troubling evidence, throughout its brief the State characterizes Marci’s distrust of DHS as “paranoid” and “delusional.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Amanda Bradley, the latest would-be torturer

Marci Webber has now been back at the Chicago Read slave plantation for almost six months. When she learned last December of a bench warrant for her arrest, she reported there on her own, to wait out an appeals process. Why that process was ever started will be a fascinating story when the truth comes out, which it surely will.

I have an odd vested interest in Marci remaining on the plantation, and I almost have to resist it, it's so perversely real. The same was true of Sean Gunderson, prior to his conditional release from Elgin last fall. When a "patient" is smart enough and strong enough, they find and report information to me from the inside which is extremely helpful. My partner and I have five federal lawsuits which would never have happened but for this.

Meanwhile, the latest cruel overseer who makes sure Marci gets psychologically whipped at every slightest opportunity is a low level Mental Health Tech named Amanda Bradley. Amanda has a Developmentally Disabled "patient" named Antoinette whom she ostentatiously favors with smiling, "I-love-you-I-love-you" blown kisses across the room, even while she snarls to Marci, "Shut the f--- up!" in the same breath.

Of course, Amanda and other staff are not supposed to use the F word aggressively against patients that way. It's quite strictly prohibited, probably not because it hurts patients very much (that's the job for psychiatric labelling, drugs and shock), but more likely because it tends to reveal the "hospital" as what it really is: a plantation. Unfortunately for Amanda, this particular incident was witnessed by another staff, whose name I have.

And unfortunately for Amanda (not to mention the higher-ups who really pull the strings), Marci has some friends. Most of them are very timid and don't want to stick their necks out right now. Dr. Anatoiley Pyslar is one example. He's a psychiatrist, and he knows perfectly well that Marci should not be a slave any longer, he tells her so to her face. Once upon a time Pyslar had a more important job than he has now, so his future as a master has probably dimmed a bit.

Other staff, well-intended human beings, are also on Marci's side, if secretly, against the people who mistakenly believe they can beat her down and wear her out. The good people will probably come out of the woodwork to incriminate the Marsicos, Sobuts, Malises and Corcorans, once Marci wins her appellate case and demonstrates that she can be successful back in the community. All the lies and all the years of cynical manipulation and harassment will come back to haunt these so-called "mental health professionals" who cannot help anyone, and who merely insult medicine, science and law.

Amanda Bradley's sweet DD friend Antoinette is a 5'10" tough girl, who constantly threatens and physically intimidates Marci. Amanda runs her, puts her up to that on purpose, and somebody higher up than Amanda even made sure Antoinette was Marci's roommate, just to make the terrorizing proceed at the highest possible intensity. Maybe they want to provoke a suicide.

Anyway, I tell Marci don't talk about suicide, don't think about suicide. I think she's too tough, and too dedicated to the cause of emancipation of all psychiatric slaves. She'll hang in there to see Atlanta burn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

“It’s complicated.” (The Great Excuse.)

I was just in a staffing (teleconference) which was the perfect dramatization of “complexity” as an excuse for incompetence and coverup of dishonesty.

My clients are constantly dealing with allegations that they have broken “rules” which change and are unwritten, or interpreted differently by different people at different times. The immediate example is contraband. When a judge sees a report saying an NGRI acquittee was discovered to have contraband in his or her possession, that might suggest guns or drugs, which would be a serious threat to safety and a criminal violation of law.

But on the plantation, contraband simply means anything the overseers decide to take away from the slaves. For example, a small packet of table salt is “food,” and food’s not allowed in somebody’s room. Or a cup of coffee, even though a staff member said, sure, take it back to your room with you, don’t worry. Or for that matter, an electronic device that was specifically cleared by security for a patient to have, at an earlier time. All of these items have been labeled contraband in patient records and court reports from Elgin Mental Health Center.

The point is simply to make the patient look like he or she is not following the rules, and to demonstrate that the overseers can take anything away from the slaves, including and especially the chance for freedom, any time they like, for any reason or for no reason.

As I write this, I suddenly recall a time when I was in a similar position. I was a second-year cadet at Culver Military Academy, and I really didn’t want to be there any more. The officers did not like me or my roommate: we were called “hippies” as an insult. (This was 1967-68.) Every morning began with personal inspection of our room, usually by First Sergeant Nick (“Nick the Prick”) Capos. Then once a week there was a more through general inspection. These inspections were searches and opportunities for confiscation of items of our property which somebody considered inappropriate. To be fair though, the actual rules at Culver were pretty standard. They were all written, and I can’t think of much that was ever in substantial dispute. But they sure were applied more strictly for guys like me, who had a “bad attitude” and didn’t relish the nobility of standing at attention and calling upper classmen sir. The officers were absolutely gleeful when they found a violation.

My roommate and I became some sort of clandestine revolutionaries that year. We hated the system and the authorities. My greatest victory was in successfully concealing one substantial item of contraband for most of the school year — a decorative wrought-iron hinge that I surreptitiously removed from the west entrance to Main Barracks one night with a makeshift screwdriver, to leave an obvious gap between the hinges above and below, ruining the symmetry on the left side of the heavy wooden double door. My trophy was three feet long by a foot wide and an eighth of an inch thick. I hid it on the back of my bureau, up against the wall. Everyone wondered who had stolen it, but they never found it. I smuggled it home as a souvenir in June. Ten years later, that door of Main Barracks was still defaced, testifying to my righteous protest against the oppression of short haircuts and uniforms, no girls, frequent military roll calls and marching to meals.

Of course, I was able to convince my parents not to send me back to Culver the following year, and I escaped to a suburban public high school, played football and became a respectable citizen. The slaves on the Elgin plantation have no such recourse, no escape. They are forced to comply, and even when they do comply, it's often no good: psychiatric “diagnoses” are arbitrary and insulting, “treatment” is torturous and permanently debilitating, judges just believe the overseers no matter what the slaves/petitioners say, and Thiem dates are far in the future.

The takeaway from my Culver cadet days is that an underlying resistance, an intractable hostility can bubble up and cause trouble for any repressive system. Every now and then, a slave finds a way to avoid being drugged into sub-humanity. Every now and then somebody comes up with a creative challenge. It's probably impossible to completely suppress human ingenuity and the urge toward freedom, even with psychiatry.

If psychiatry were any kind of help, the Elgin plantation overseers wouldn't have to worry. People are not hostile toward valid help, it doesn't provoke underground resistances. But slaves only find nobility in recalcitrance. The forensic psychiatric system tries to pretend it is helping people who are sick and protecting the community from danger. That pretense is so false, everyone who works in the system knows on some level they are lying. They don't feel good about that, because their first intention was to help. They discover they can't, and they only cause harm in these jobs. Then their only relief is tragic comradeship with others equally disillusioned. The system, the bureaucracy, just makes them all increasingly stupid and cynical together.

Tom Zubik can be so proud of manumitting more slaves from his plantation in the last eighteen months than in the three previous years combined, but he doesn't brag that they were cured of anything, and he doesn't seem to think about having improved treatment. He has only stopped holding quite so many slaves. Vera Hosley can hold onto Marci Webber's legal mail for a few days, but that's not very satisfying if it doesn't provoke Marci enough to forcibly drug her.

The complexity of rules and procedures in a bureaucracy is directly proportional to the lies that have to be told or covered up. The conversation in the staffing about little salt packets or a cup of coffee as contraband was convincing evidence of thick and deep lies on Hartman Unit. Incidentally, a "patient" named Arthur died on that unit recently. I tried to get anyone to say it was not related to COVID19, but nobody uttered a single word in response to that query.

There was a weird movie in 1968, entitled. "If...". Highly recommended! It's about crushing dehumanization and defiance. I saw it in the theater when it was first released, the same summer I discovered Jewish girls. I've never watched it again, and I probably shouldn't. There's enough Sherman in me....

There is slavery and there is freedom: it's not complicated.

Friday, May 15, 2020

IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, )      Appellate
                          Respondent,                      )      Court of Illinois,
                                                                    )      2nd District
            v.                                                     )      No. 2-19-1090
                                                                    )
MARCI WEBBER,                                    )   
                          Appellant.                         )


NOW COMES, Marci Webber (“Webber”), in want of counsel, the petitioner in the aforementioned case and moves this Honorable Court as follows: PETITION FOR LEAVE TO FILE LATE AND APPEAL TO THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT UNDER RULE 315. In support thereof and in compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 315, Webber states the following:

Preliminary

1.     Webber is in want of counsel and proceeding pro se.  She is not a licensed attorney and has no access to legal resources as the Chicago Read Mental Health Center (CRMHC) is devoid of legal resources. Being pro se and not a licensed attorney, Webber invokes the lenient pleading standard pursuant to, inter alia, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).  Webber acknowledges that in her attempts to submit a previous petition to this court pro se in January 2020, she accidentally put an old appellate case number on the heading of the document. However, the pleadings presented in the petition were clearly recent, specifically in December 2019. According to Haines v. Kerner, “allegations such as those asserted by petitioner, however inartfully pleaded, are sufficient to call for the opportunity to offer supporting evidence.” Indeed, Webber presented rather significant allegations which deserve serious review by this Honorable Court. Furthermore the U.S. Supreme Court said in Haines, “we hold [pleadings] to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Webber’s original petition to this Court was submitted within the 35-day time period.
2.     Also since Webber has no counsel on this motion she respectfully requests that the court not construe against her any underdeveloped arguments or omissions that indicate meritlessness (Se, e.g., United States v. Watson, 189 F. 3d 496, 500 (7th Cir. 1999) (for the proposition that inadequately developed or supported arguments are waived)
3.     Webber cites United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F. 2d 796, 805 (9th Cir. 1986).  “Quite obviously an incompetent person cannot be held to compliance with technical rules.” Furthermore, “incompetence” in the legal setting is defined as, lack of legal ability to do something[1]. As Webber is currently confined to the CRMHC, she requests this Court’s adequate leniency in her filings to ensure that her arguments are properly addressed. As Webber is currently housed in a mental health center, it is presumptuous to assume that she is competent to submit pro se pleadings with the degree of accuracy that a licensed attorney would without an appropriate competency hearing.
4.     Webber also points out Illinois Supreme Court Rule 183 which says, “The court, for good cause shown on motion after notice to the opposite party, may extend the time for filing any pleading or the doing of any act which is required by the rules to be done within a limited period, either before or after the expiration of the time.” Webber’s access to legal resources and other material has been very limited, due in part to complications resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the extreme circumstances that Webber has been forced into, she respectfully seeks this Honorable Court allow her to file the instant petition at this time, to the extent that this Court does not treat her original filing in January 2020, which was within the 35 day period, as adequate for the purpose of timing on this petition.  Webber notes that Respondent, seeking Webber’s confinement, is in no way prejudiced by the petition’s lateness, as her interim confinement is sought by Respondent.

Background

5.     The People of the State of Illinois (“State”) filed a motion for Stay of Enforcement on or around 12/17/19 and the Illinois Appellate Court, 2nd District granted said order on 12/20/19, without allowing Webber an opportunity to respond to the State’s motion. Webber was not properly served and received a copy of the motion via U.S. mail only hours before the motion was granted. Webber filed her Motion to Vacate the Stay Order of 12/20/19 on 12/27/19. On or around 1/6/20 the Illinois Appellate Court, 2nd District denied Webber’s motion without providing any reasoning.

Rule 315 (c)(3)

6.     In asking the Illinois Supreme Court to review the judgment of the Appellate Court, Webber states as follows:
a.    Webber was living in the community when the Stay Order was granted. Thus, she had more liberty interest at stake than a trial court’s order granting release. That is, she did not merely have the liberty interest of prospective release, but she had actually obtained release.
b.    Webber has been detained against her will in a mental health facility tasked with providing highly-restrictive inpatient mental health treatment in accordance with strict constitutional standards despite the absence of a hearing determining that she meets the criteria for inpatient treatment. Webber has been detained based not on the precedent found in voluminous case law requiring notice, a hearing with evidence and examination of witnesses, as well as the opportunity to appeal, but rather due to an abstract legal/administrative procedure known as a Stay, which has absolutely no precedent in case law.
c.     The Appellate Court is the common means of appeal when someone’s liberty is taken from them by the State. However, the Appellate Court is the entity that took Webber’s liberty in this case. The only entity to whom Webber can appeal this unwarranted detention is the Illinois Supreme Court.
d.    Webber did not receive adequate notice by the State as service was not performed appropriately. Despite being pro se, Webber prepared and filed a motion to vacate 1 week after she received the state’s emergency motion in the mail, which was also the same day that the appellate court granted the state’s motion. The State exploited her pro se status to avoid any argument against their motion.
e.    The State’s emergency motion was submitted prior to the record on appeal being formalized and submitted; it included both untrue information as well as information that was not in the record; that is, the introduction of new evidence.
f.      Webber’s detention is based on an abstract legal/administrative procedure (Stay of Enforcement) and not acute mental illness and dangerousness (a determination derived from professional evaluations of her current mental state). Nowhere in the history of Illinois case law or any other case law that Webber has seen in her research has it been legally permissible to detain someone in a mental health facility (1) for an administrative procedural reason and not mental health treatment and (2) without a trial or full due process hearing, including the opportunity to appeal, based upon the individual’s current mental state. Judge Bakalis’s ruling, finding that Webber had shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that she did not meet the criteria for inpatient treatment, relieves her of any presumptions against her under Illinois or federal law, Jones v. United States, 463 US 354 U.S. Supreme Court 1983 . Consequently, further confinement, under Illinois and federal law, requires a full due process hearing. (See, inter alia, Vitek v. Jones, 445 US 480 U.S. Supreme Court 1980, Specht v. Patterson, 386 US 605 U.S. Supreme Court 1967).
g.     The fundamental liberty interest at stake, liberty itself, requires that the state of Illinois afford Webber full due process protections, regardless of convenience to any judicial process. Put simply, a stay of enforcement in a divorce proceeding, for example, is one thing, but a stay of enforcement that results in a forcible return to custody is a completely different thing. The abstract legal concept of a stay of enforcement must not supersede Webber’s liberty interest.
h.    The current circumstances in which Webber finds herself are not at all the “Status Quo.” She was disallowed by CRMHC officials several court-approved privileges and personal property rights that she had previously at CRMHC, just before she was granted conditional release.
i.      The Appellate Court abused its discretion in granting the Stay Order against Webber.
j.      The current COVID-19 pandemic is putting Webber in danger living at CRMHC as she cannot adequately protect herself at CRMHC; indeed, she is subject to patients coming in off the streets who may be carrying COVID-19. Staff that Webber is forced to interact with may carry COVID-19 and infect her; due to the nature of confinement, Webber cannot adequately adhere to federal and state social distancing guidelines.

Rule 315(c)(4)

7.     Webber filed her petition for discharge or conditional release in July 2018. During the hearing she presented three expert witnesses that all stated that she did not meet the criteria for inpatient treatment (neither mentally ill nor dangerous). The court-appointed examiner testified that Webber did not meet the criteria for inpatient treatment insofar as she testified that while Webber had a mental health diagnosis, it was in a sustained remission and that Webber was not dangerous. The only expert testimony against Webber was that of her treating psychiatrist at Elgin Mental Health Center (“EMHC”), Dr. Malis. However, the trial court called into question information provided to the court by the Illinois Department of Human Services (“IDHS”) including EMHC, as there was substantial evidence showing that IDHS had submitted false information and/or attempted to mislead the court about Webber. Webber cannot reference any specific pages in the Record on Appeal as (1) the Stay Order was granted prior to completion of the Record on Appeal and (2) Webber has not yet received the Record on Appeal and is unaware if it has been prepared.

Rule 315(c)(5)

8.     Review by the Supreme Court is warranted here not only the sake of Webber’s liberty, but also because it touches on an important legal question on which lower courts need guidance.
a.    Without adequate due process, or even having the record on appeal prepared and available, the Appellate Court for the 2nd District set a dangerous and unconstitutional precedent by ordering the detention of Webber without any hearing or even factual review. The Appellate Court merely allowed the State to manipulate their pen into ordering Webber’s detention. No case law was cited by the State in their motion, nor did the Appellate Court provide any basis showing  that such a type of detention not based on a full due process hearing is permissible.
b.    The reversal of a trial court’s decision on appeal should only occur when the decision is manifestly erroneous People v. Hager, 253 Ill.App.3d 37, 42, 192 Ill.Dec. 272, 625 N.E.2d 232, 236 (1993); People v. Cross, 301 Ill.App.3d 901, 912, 235 Ill.Dec. 193, 704 N.E.2d 766, 773 (1998). However, this precedent regards a reversal at the end of the appeals process, after the production of the record on appeal and the parties’ legal briefs. However, in this case, the appellate court’s decision is a de facto decision to reverse the trial court’s decision: it has the effect of seizing Webber’s person and detaining her without even the most cursory review of the law and facts. Webber’s current confinement rests on the absurd presumption that Judge Bakalis’s ruling was against the manifest weight, putting the legal norm of deference to the factual determinations of lower courts on its head.
c.     The Illinois Appellate Court for the 2nd District denied Webber’s motion to vacate the stay order without providing any reasoning for the denial. Webber’s motion was thorough and contained important constitutional and legal arguments that the Appellate Court did not even bother to address.
d.    Webber asserts that this case presents an important legal question that the Illinois Supreme Court must address, both for Webber’s sake and potential similar situations in the future. Commitment, for any reason, requires the ability to appeal to comport with due process, Vitek v. Jones, 445 US 480 U.S. Supreme Court 1980. Without being able to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, Webber’s current detention does not comport with due process.
e.    The unconstitutionality of Webber’s current detention is supported by voluminous case law. “I think it clear that acquittees could not be confined as mental patients absent some medical justification for doing so. In such a case, the necessary connection between the nature and purpose of confinement would be absent” Vitek v. Jones 445 US 480. Webber is not currently detained for medical reasons, but for a legal/administrative reason. The committed acquittee is entitled to release when he has recovered his sanity, or he is no longer dangerous. Jones v. United States 463 U.S. 354. The acquittee may be held as long as he is mentally ill and dangerous, but no longer. O’Connor v. Donaldson 422 US 563 (held as a matter of due process that it was unconstitutional for a state to continue to confine a harmless mentally ill person, even if the initial commitment was permissible, it could not constitutionally continue after that basis no longer existed). Vitek v. Jones held that a convicted felon serving his sentence has a liberty interest not extinguished by his confinement as a criminal and not being transferred to a mental institution and hence classified as mentally ill without appropriate procedures to prove that he was mentally ill. “The loss of liberty produced by involuntary commitment is more than a loss of freedom from confinement (Vitek Id. 492). Due process requires that the nature of the commitment bears some reasonable relation to the purpose for which the individual is committed (Jones at 368, Jackson v. Indiana 406 US 715). Currently, the purpose of Webber’s commitment is that of the legal instrument of a stay order to allow an appeal process to play out. However, the nature of her commitment is that of mental health treatment.
f.      The State in their Emergency Motion for a Stay of Enforcement used information that was misleading and outright false. The State also used information that was not contained within the record of the trial court for Webber’s hearing; that is, they introduced new evidence in their Emergency Motion, which was improper. Furthermore, the State did not provide Webber or the Court with any exculpatory evidence in accordance with Brady v. Maryland 373 U.S. 83 (1963). 
g.     Webber was not properly served with a copy of the State’s Emergency Motion and received it via the US Postal Service mere hours before the Appellate Court entered their order granting the Stay Order. As such she had no opportunity to respond to the State’s motion. In Nagel v. Gerald Dennen & Co., 650 NE 2d 547 - Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 2nd Div. 1995, the Appellate court reversed and remanded a case in which Defendants filed an “emergency” motion without adequate notice to the plaintiff. The trial court granted the defendant’ motion in an ex parte hearing. The Appellate court found that adequate notice is necessary in such circumstances. “Is the mere fact that defendant's motion was labelled an "emergency" sufficient to satisfy the requirement that an emergency exist? Clearly, the answer is "No" in light of the specific meaning of "emergency" and the cases cited herein, requiring specifically stated facts "that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant before notice can be served… We further find that the written motion itself belies the argument that an emergency existed.” There was no reason for the Appellate Court to not allow Webber the opportunity to respond before deciding the State’s “emergency” motion. 
h.    Webber asserts that as the “status quo’ does not currently exist, it is appropriate that the Stay order is reviewed. Furthermore, the nature of this stay order attempts to address the merits of the underlying dispute. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that one can only be held as an inpatient in a mental health facility if they are both mentally ill and dangerous. Foucha v. Louisiana, 504 US 71 - Supreme Court 1992. As this is precedent, locking Webber back up in an inpatient mental health facility indicates that she must be both mentally ill and dangerous, otherwise there is no legal basis to confine her there. The question of whether or not the trial court ruled properly in determining that Webber no longer met this 2-pronged test is what the Appellate Court is deciding. However, by forcing Webber back into confinement, the merits of the underlying dispute are being addressed: Webber is currently seen under the law as meeting the 2-pronged test of being both mentally ill and dangerous, despite already having proven by clear and convincing evidence that she is not. “A stay order seeks only to preserve the status quo existing on the date of its entry and does not address in any way the merits of the underlying dispute. (Douglas Transit, Inc. v. Illinois Commerce Commission (1986), 145 Ill.App.3d 115, 99 Ill.Dec. 173, 495 N.E.2d 620.)” Quoting Kaden v. Pucinski, 635 NE 2d 468 - Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 3rd Div. 1994. In Landis, the United States Supreme Court was confronted with a stay order which had been entered approximately one year earlier. In light of the events which had transpired during the intervening months, the Supreme Court remanded the matter to allow the court to reassess the propriety of the stay given the current situation of the pending cases. Landis, 299 U.S. at 258-59, 57 S.Ct. at 167-68. Quoting Kaden v. Pucinski, 635 NE 2d 468 - Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 3rd Div. 1994. Webber points out that her current situation at CRMHC is in no way similar to the situation the day prior to the granting of her conditional release by the trial court. It certainly is not similar in any way to the situation the day that the Stay order was granted: Webber was living in the community.
i.      Webber also points out that the current COVID-19 pandemic and crisis is a significant factor in her life and the lives of all. The current stay order, which is not even preserving the status quo, is putting Webber’s life in jeopardy as the CRMHC is an environment where appropriate social distancing is difficult or impossible; where new patients and staff can bring COVID-19 Webber without giving her the opportunity to “self-quarantine” as the rest of society is doing. If Webber were in her own apartment, she could abide by federal and state social distancing guidelines and adequately protect herself from COVID-19. For all of these reasons, a review of the current stay order is justified. The COVID-19 pandemic was not occurring in the U.S. prior to Webber’s conditional release order being granted; the Stay order does not just fail in preserving the status quo, it also puts Webber in harms way. Living in her own apartment, Webber could adequately protect herself from COVID-19 and adhere to all social distancing guidelines for her safety and the safety of those around her.
j.      The State relied on Stacke v. Bates, 562 NE 2d 192 - Ill: Supreme Court 1990; however, this reliance was misplaced.  “A stay issued by the appellate court, formally referred to as a supersedeas, suspends enforcement of a judgment, and is intended to preserve the status quo pending the appeal and to preserve the fruits of a meritorious appeal where they might otherwise be lost.” Webber contends that there was no way to “suspend” enforcement of the conditional release order such that she would have been brought back into custody. The conditional release order is a “passively” enforced order such that no actual “enforcement” is required; rather, Webber is allowed to live in the community until such time as 1) the 5-year order expires; 2) Webber successfully petitions for a termination of the order and unconditional discharge; or 3) the State’s Attorney petitions successfully to the Court to bring her back into custody on a finding that she has not followed the conditions of her release. Bringing Webber back into custody is an “active” process that requires at least 3 steps, and not merely the issuance of a stay order: the granting of the stay order; the issuance of a warrant directing law enforcement to seize Webber; and the actual carrying out of this warrant by law enforcement. This situation is not merely a suspension of monetary payments as in the case of Stacke.
9.     In compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 315, Webber has attached a copy of the order of the Appellate Court denying her motion to vacate. However, as she does not have available to her the Record on Appeal, she cannot include any information, documents or references from it.

WHEREFORE, Webber prays that this Honorable Court grant her petition for leave to file late and appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court and hears her case against the granting of the Stay Order by the Appellate Court, 2nd District.

Respectfully Submitted,

___________________________________                        Date: 5/1/20
Marci Webber, Pro Se
Marci Webber
775 Pershing Ave. #7
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
331-241-3844

Presently at,
Chicago Read Mental Health Center
4200 N. Oak Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
773-794-4000





[1] . “Incompetence” Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/incompetence .

Thursday, May 14, 2020

More on Marci — Vera Hosley

I heard a story today which sounds very typical to me.

Vera Hosley is a Social Worker II at Chicago Read Mental Health Center, employed by the Illinois Department of Human Services and paid an annual salary of $65,000. She seems to imagine herself to be a master of some sort on the plantation. And she seems to imagine that Marci Webber is just one of the slaves she has control of.

Recently Marci requested copies of legal documents. After Vera had taken them out of her box, and while she was holding them in her hand on the unit, Marci attempted to add several more pages. Vera had just approached another patient, and was about to start a conversation with him. (This is a patient who very likely has a case of COVID19, by the way. Why is he walking around on the unit, not in quarantine?) Marci interrupted.

Oh, man! There’s hardly anything so insulting to the delicate pride of a little, tiny apparatchik like Vera, as to be INTERRUPTED while performing such wonderfully professional and Holy Mental Health Duties... as those of a Social Worker II making the big bucks. Vera apparently feels entitled to interrupt patients anytime she wants, though. Marci had been yelled at by Vera while in the middle of a phone conference with her legal counsel (not me) just recently. Predictably on today’s occasion, there quickly ensued an argument between Vera and Marci, in which (Oh, heaven forbid!) voices were raised.

Marci was actually trying to save Vera the additional nuisance of having to make a second set of copies. She figured it would be more efficient to get everything she needed to Vera for a single errand, rather than asking her to do two separate ones. But the thing about any argument between a slave and an overseer is, the slave always loses. Vera quickly threatened Marci with a shot (meaning of course, forced drugging) and Marci retreated to her room.

The part where it gets funny came next. When Marci came out of her room later, her doctor, Anatoiley Pyslar, just happened to be nearby. Dr. Pyslar looked at Marci and commented, “Hey Marci, Vera wants me to order a shot for you for being loud!” He laughed.

He didn’t laugh because it was a cruel threat that he enjoyed. He laughed because it was a ridiculous threat, and he knew Marci knew it was ridiculous. A Social Worker II, even one making the big bucks like Vera, can’t get a patient held down and forcibly drugged just for being loud. There has to be a threat of imminent danger posed by the patient, to herself or others, before the overseer is allowed to whip her slave.

Vera Hosley is weak and incompetent and laughable. There are many weak, incompetent and laughable “mental health professionals” on the plantation. Most of them aren’t evil, they’re just wasted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Diagnosis is bullshit, treatment sucks: knock it off!

It was Allen Frances, M.D., the esteemed lead author of DSM-IV, who admitted that psychiatric diagnosis is bullshit almost ten years ago. Two years later Frances wrote, "The history of psychiatry is littered with fad diagnoses that in retrospect did far more harm than good.”

Just in case Frances’ opinion is not authoritative enough on this subject, I should point out research recently reported in JAMA Open Network, which finds that 86% of all people should be diagnosed with a mental disorder by the time they are 45 years old! That’s almost nine out of ten of us who should be officially labeled “mentally ill”.

Nine out of ten staff at Elgin Mental Health Center, for example. Unless there is some way to rule out all mental illness as a routine step in the hiring process these people go through (and it’s a sure bet there isn’t!), there’s no reason to believe they are less likely than the general population to meet the criteria for DSM diagnoses. Most of them can just as certainly be deemed dangerous due to their “mental illnesses” — e.g., if they ever abuse alcohol or psychoactive substances, or if anyone ever notices them being verbally aggressive, or if they ever seem to lack insight into their own thinking, emotions or behavior.

So it’s logically and clearly arguable that staff and patients at EMHC are exactly like each other, as far as whether or not they should be controlled under the law for their own and others’ protection.

That brings us to the unfortunate fact that treatment sucks. The most highly valued medical “solution” for serious (and more recently even not-so-serious) mental illness is probably neuroleptic drugs, aka antipsychotics, aka major tranquilizers. But they take 25 years off your life! A recent thorough review of the scientific literature on this is discouraging at best for anyone who hopes benefits might outweigh risks. Needless to say nobody ever wants shock treatment either, unless it’s a last resort. It destroys memory and just fries your brain.

The APA needs to disband and disgorge all past profits from the 40-year fraud of its DSM’s. The Illinois General Assembly needs to extract all references to psychiatric authority from our statutes. We must ban the insanity defense and outlaw forced treatment.

Unless we’re all willing to succumb to a future of more and more mental and emotional disability, unless we’re so frightened of being human and so frightened of anything we imagine may be painful in any way, unless we intend spiritual suicide, unless we are idiots... then the whole project of psychiatry is a dismal failure!

So to anyone reading this, don’t be an idiot, don’t kill yourself. Refuse psychiatry and help others refuse psychiatry. See the picture above, of my dog? He’s inviting you to hang out on the beach on a summer afternoon, drink great wine from Oregon and grill pub burgers.

Here’s how my friend Sean Gunderson put it, just this morning:

“Maybe thinking about mental illness is a moot point. What if everyone in the world were black? There would be no point in discussing race. Maybe we should just call 100% of the population mentally ill, and then we can abandon the concept and focus instead on finding meaningful happiness in our lives.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Psychiatrists as doctors, psychiatric institutions as hospitals, N Unit and Voltaire

Voltaire said that anyone who makes you believe absurdities will make you commit atrocities. He also insisted that arguing any point requires first defining your terms.

A doctor is a person skilled or specializing in healing arts. (Miriam Webster says so, not just me.)

And a hospital (the entomology is closely related to hospice, hostel, hotel, host) is fundamentally a place of refuge, where a person can find help and hope, e.g., to recover from sickness or injury.

There are other definitions, but these are mine for the purposes of this argument.

Psychiatrists generally admit that they do not heal or cure anything. They do not specialize in healing arts, they rather specialize in certain arcane arts of control. This is a legitimate social function, by the way. People who are violent, destructive, or who directly inspire and precipitate violent reactions from others, need to be controlled. Unfortunately most of us think controlling other people in some circumstances is bad, so we often need to pretend we’re not doing that when we really are. Psychiatry, especially state psychiatry, is precisely this pretense.

Psychiatrists are thus fake doctors. Society encourages them to fake being doctors, but that’s somewhat beside the point. Although they have medical degrees, licenses, and most of the elaborate accoutrements of what people think medical science might be, they nevertheless specialize in controlling arts, not healing arts. Saying you are a doctor, indeed insisting that you must be recognized by society as a doctor above all else, while simultaneously protesting that you cannot cure the illnesses of your patients, is an absurdity.

Likewise, psychiatric institutions are fake hospitals. They obtain patients from the police, hold them against their will, and force treatments on them. They dehumanize and punish them, and go to great, ritualized bureaucratic lengths to deny them rights. This is directly contradictory to any purpose of refuge, recovery, help and hope. Calling these oppressive places hospitals is an absurdity.

On N Unit at Elgin Mental Health Center, a forensic “patient“ for whom I advocate is being continuously harassed and threatened by several staff, with negative reports in his chart intended to block his progress to a less restrictive environment. He has an upcoming court hearing on a petition for conditional release, and staff taunt him about how easily they can torpedo any favorable decision on that petition. He’s not a young man, so he’s at risk for COVID19 while he is kept at the facility. He’s clearly not psychotic, in fact his psychiatrist believes he never was mentally ill. However that psychiatrist now says he won’t testify to the whole truth in court.

Today when this patient told a nurse manager named Sherry that he might write a complaint to Equip For Equality about her disrespectful attitude, Sherry literally jumped at the chance to reply, “I’m really happy you told me that, because it’s a threat, and now I can write in your chart that you threatened me!”

But complaining, accurately or inaccurately, about mistreatment to Equip For Equality or the Office of the Inspector General is not a threat, it’s every patient’s statutory right! Such rights were explicitly written into the law to make forced “hospitalization” nominally constitutional. Without the formal recourse, patients would be brutalized more often than they are. There would be rampant sexual abuse. Sherry might become another Christy Lenhardt or Mark Roberson. Extreme coercion of patients to take unwanted, unnecessary, and extremely harmful psychiatric drugs would be completely unbridled, and a thin vestige of informed consent would evaporate. So the actual threat today came from Nurse Manager Sherry, not the patient who had a clear right to formally complain.

Mental patients are generally thought to be less truthful and/or less accurate in their observational ability than mental health professionals, so patients’ complaints about staff are very rarely substantiated or even honestly investigated. (A former investigator for OIG told me it’s about two or three percent.) Sherry knows perfectly well that one patient’s complaint is no realistic threat to her job or her professional future. She also knows perfectly well how effective her retribution will be against that patient, when she falsely charts him for “threatening” her.

On N Unit today, the thing that really happened was this: a patient “threatened” to speak truth to power and a nurse manager threatened his freedom, his future, and his life. The way the system is set up, it’s what happens all the time.

We are committing atrocities after being led to believe absurdities.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Furlough useless state mental health employees!

I got a call today from a “patient” at Elgin plantation who was complaining that nobody’s getting treatment.

Of course, I had to stop and think... mostly I deal with people who want to escape from “treatment” which is harmful, degrading, etc. Here was somebody calling me because he wasn’t getting treatment? Hmmm.

As it develops, all therapy groups, individual counseling, and activities are cancelled at Elgin for the COVID19 emergency. These are almost the only things the plantation’s slave population can do on any given day. Those people are now bored. This is what they’re there for: their only jobs really, consist in receiving mental health “treatment”. The plantation also derives some public relations value from providing more than just drugs and electroshock, because those forms of “treatment” have negative implications in the public mind.

Being able to claim or refer to a complicated variety of different “services” provided by a complicated variety of different “mental health professionals” has become vital to the project of disguising the nature of the plantation. Without that disguise, taxpayers might easily realize that the forensic mental health system is nothing but a much more expensive prison system, and they might not want to pay for it anymore.

I have on many occasions seen judges and state’s attorneys obsess over details of a complicated variety of “treatment” prescribed for an NGRI petitioner. This appeared to have a purpose to tease out better prediction of whether the person might be a prospect for conditional release into the community, instead of being kept forever on a locked clinical unit (at huge public expense). I always tended to discount the importance of what seemed to me like trivia in treatment plans and court reports, such as whether a “patient” believed in Moral Reconation Therapy, or whether she had done an anger management group one time or three times, or whether he had joined a substance abuse group conducted in Spanish only to learn the language.

I always thought judges must suspect on some level that all these “treatment” modalities were fluff. The only substantial issue had to be the person’s behavior. If somebody gets in fights all the time and scares the hell out of others, that person probably needs to be restrained. But if they get along OK for a year or two on a psychiatric plantation, maybe they can be manumitted.

The issue of psychiatric drugs was a big part of this. If somebody’s behavior is social enough without drugs, then it seems counterproductive to prescribe them. If somebody’s behavior is only OK because they take the drugs, then you’d better pay a lot of attention to what might happen when that person is no longer locked up. That seemed like common sense to me.

Well, lo and behold, everybody else was thinking much more about all these other “treatments”. Until they weren’t.

COVID19 is now the system’s excuse to discontinue all therapy groups, all individual counseling, and all activity therapies. Those “treatments” are not important enough to continue. They are fluff. At least, that's what I’m told is the protocol for the Elgin plantation. I doubt there’s any difference at Chicago Read, Chester, Madden, Alton, Choate, or any other IDHS facility.

Needless to say, if these things were important, it would be easily possible to conduct smaller therapy groups, for example, with only three or four people in a large enough room to social distance. Individual counseling sessions could be done by video. Physical exercise, library use, consumer council and gardening would only need to employ a few new rules. There are plenty of “mental health professionals” of various and sundry types, all on the state payroll, to figure this out and supervise it.

But no, what they do instead is just stop most “treatment”. Can’t do it now, COVID19, shut down anything non-essential.

Fine, it’s fluff. So are at least a third of all those employees. Furlough them, save the state money!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Dangerously Delusional

In a recent post, I briefly mentioned James Baker... again.

I say again, because I’ve been blogging about James for many years, maybe longer than anyone other than Rodney Yoder. He has a long Thiem date because he was NGRI for murder back in the 1980’s. However, James has been asymptomatic for psychosis and very well behaved for decades now, without any reliance at all on psychiatric drugs. He’s in his seventies, very smart, very disciplined, and until recently in excellent physical health.

James has had all his privileges, including court-ordered passes, for about six years. Never caused any problem, always responsible.

Tom Zubik once told me he doesn’t want James to die at EMHC. That worries him because it would make him look bad. (Sure as hell! And I would do anything I could to contribute to those optics.)

So, anyone with common sense might ask, why not get James out as soon as possible, as a high-priority, creative-solution work product by a couple of competent and well-intended people at Illinois’ legendary Elgin Mental Health Center, which once upon a time even included Thomas Szasz on its staff? It’s never more than one or two people out of scores who can actually think outside of institutional boxes and get things done, but there are a couple of prospects for James. His current treatment team, run by Social Worker Rose Adler and Psychiatrist Vic Gill, might be able to pull it off.

The thing that has probably cost James a couple years or more is ”medical evidence” that maybe he did believe, or does believe, that he’s the King of Egypt. “Medical evidence” of someone’s beliefs is of course a very strange concept to begin with. Psychiatrists have to talk about “delusions” to suggest that they are somehow experts with specialized knowledge about people’s beliefs. But delusions are defined in such a squishy, context-dependent way as to let anyone describe anyone else’s beliefs as delusional. The real point needs to be somebody’s behavior, not their beliefs.

Baker has stated categorically that he does not imagine himself to be an actual king of the present day nation, the Islamic Republic of Egypt. He has assured everyone that he doesn’t expect any privileges or acknowledgement or value, from anyone, with regard to being King or Egypt.

In fact, he completely stopped talking about this “King of Egypt” thing for years, and a prior treatment team stopped worrying about it, as well. It took psychiatrist Richard Malis-with-malice to dredge this thing up out of old records and taunt James with it, in hopes of making some case that James should take drugs to cure his delusions. “Curing” someone’s unacceptable beliefs with drugs is a truly atrocious, (Soviet- or Nazi- or Maoist-) totalitarian-style version of “mental health services”. In theory, we don’t do that in the USA.

But psychiatry is psychiatry. Maybe Dr. Malis-with-malice wanted to be the medical hero who discovered a brain malfunction in James Baker and cured it with drugs. So he ramped up the coercion, which is psychiatry’s most cherished, vital tool. James was denied competent care for physical injuries until he couldn’t even walk. He still declined to deal with his tormentor. He refused to be transported in chains to medical facilities, even though I offered to hire a PI to get a picture of it, which would have made for a dramatic internet demonstration of the slave plantation character of EMHC.

Finally the court put an end to this cruel nonsense, and shortly afterward, mercifully, Malis-with-malice was taken off the case. Maybe James will eventually recover from his iatrogenic physical injuries and disability. Maybe he’ll play basketball again, like he did before Malis-with-malice arrived to torture him.

What about dangerous delusions?

Baker likes to imagine himself as some kind of historic dignitary, knowing full well it’s his own personal illusion which gives him life-sustaining private comfort and has no value in the outside world. Much like, perhaps, dreams of wealth or flying or a world without COVID19....

Richard Malis likes to imagine himself as a “medical scientist” who can fine-tune other people’s imaginings and self-images with “medication” even if that necessitates turning them into cripples. Much like, perhaps, Josef Mengele or Ernst Rubin or Ewen Cameron.

Which one of these guys is dangerously delusional? I just hope that Dr. Gill, Rose Adler and other well-intended people in IDHS can take a reasonable perspective!

Get Baker OUT!