Sunday, February 16, 2020

Malis-with-malice, personality and moral reason

I recently heard that the psychiatrist Richard Malis-with-malice will soon no longer be in the employ of the Illinois Department of Human Services. It has long seemed over-obvious to me that an organization aspiring to provide services to humans should never tolerate a guy like him; but apparently IDHS is just coming around to that.

When the rumor came to me, I quickly checked to find out where Malis-with-malice will go from Elgin Mental Health Center. He’s the sort that I would not like to lose track of: there’s security only in knowing exactly where he is on a daily basis. It turns out Malis is just moving “across the street” to the Department of Corrections.

I told several people about this whom I thought might be interested. The comments came back along the lines of, “Yes, that makes sense — he belongs in the DOC in more ways than one!” and “He’ll be safe with his own kind.”

I’ve mentioned Malis-with-malice in several blog posts. He’s a fanatic who has had a terrible impact on one client of mine in particular. Until fairly recently, James was a healthy 70-year-old who loved keeping up with much younger men on the basketball court. Now at 74, he can’t get out of his wheel chair, and there’s no way it’s not Richard Malis’ fault. There’s no way Malis didn’t do this to James on purpose, to punish him for recovering from Schizophrenia without drugs.

Of course, there’s not supposed to be any issue or purpose of punishment in a “hospital” — James is only supposed to be at EMHC to be helped, “treated” for any remaining mental illness like what supposedly caused his insanity, which was why the court found him not guilty 30-some-odd yeas ago. It’s a huge lie, of course. Nobody has any useful medical explanation for why he committed his crime; and medicine has not invented any improvement over merely punishing him.

A staffing I attended the same day I found out about Malis-with-malice moving over to DOC was instructive regarding this huge lie. My client, whom I’ll call Jack,  has been stable and asymptomatic for major mental illness for many years. But nobody wants to go along with a conditional release because they think he may have “personality problems” or slightly “questionable moral reasoning”. He’s in his fifties now, and not really amenable to the idea that the clinicians at EMHC know how to “treat” his personality or his morality. He thinks that sounds like pure bullshit, and he’s right.

The big push at the moment is to get Jack to enroll in a program called MRT. It stands for Moral Reconation Therapy, which is the trademarked innovation of Correctional Counseling, Inc., a Germantown, TN based company. As the corporate name may imply, MRT was conceived as a process for rehabilitating criminals. A website explanation of why it works reads:

“Moral reasoning is how people make decisions about what they should or should not do in a given situation. If judgments about right and wrong are made from low levels of moral reasoning, then counseling, job skills training, and punishment will have little long-lasting impact on behavior. 
“Offenders must be confronted with the consequences of their behavior and the effects it has on their family, friends, and community. MRT addresses beliefs and reasoning. It is designed to alter how clients think and make judgments about what is right and wrong.”
In a previous blog post, I once noted that there is a conceptual conflict between the idea that someone is not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity caused by a medically diagnosable and treatable mental illness (theoretically a brain disease, such as anyone at Elgin Mental Health Center is supposed to have), and the idea that someone’s thinking and judgment can change or improve.

MRT essentially tells criminals that their problems are caused by lying, cheating, stealing, victimizing and blaming other people, and the fact that they’re locked up is entirely their own fault.

Psychiatry essentially tells NGRI acquittees that their brain disorder is not their fault, it’s genetics or chemistry after all, and they just need the drug (or shock) cure in the hospital to fix it.

So... do we make people change their behavior, or do we cure them? Are they bad, or mad? Should we invest in governmental departments of corrections, or human services? These are very different perspectives and social strategies.

The fact that most of us who pay taxes to support both of them simultaneously don’t really ever think about the difference... may shed some light on how Richard Malis-with-malice can just be quietly moved across the street.

What about investigating and charging him for crimes against humanity?

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