Friday, April 3, 2020

Let them out!

It seems to be an obvious, merciful policy to let people out of confinement if it’s possible to do so. Prisons are bad places to avoid coronavirus, the public easily understands that. But for some reason it occurs to almost no one that involuntary psychiatric facilities are just as bad, or worse.

The Chicago SunTimes reports today that thousands of prisoners in the Illinois Department of Corrections may be released so they have a better chance to avoid the pandemic. There is a class action lawsuit, and the governor seems to agree with the purposes of the plaintiffs to avoid unnecessary deaths among people who were sentenced for crimes.

Are we any less merciful toward those found not guilty of crimes, by reason of insanity? Yes, in fact we are much less merciful. As far as I can tell, nobody is advocating for release of involuntary psychiatric “patients” at Elgin, Chester, Madden or Chicago Read Mental Health Centers.

There are many who could be released without endangering public safety.

One such “patient” at Elgin MHC is James Baker. He committed what would have been a violent crime... 33 years ago. He is in his seventies now, and in poor health. He hasn’t had any incident of threatening or aggressive behavior for decades, and the doctors who know his case have no further “treatment” to offer him. The Forensic Director at Elgin, Tom Zubik, actually told me months before the pandemic that he was worried Baker would die in custody.

Another such “patient” at Chicago Read MHC is Marci Webber. She was found NGRI for a horrible crime that occurred while she was in a psychotic break born of psychiatric drug withdrawal or intoxication. The chances that she would ever be violent again are approximately zero, according to every expert consulted.

Marci actually was released in December by the same Circuit Court judge who presided over her case from day one. However, in a mysterious set of circumstances that no one in the system seems to have ever seen before, she was re-“hospitalized” pending a highly unlikely appeal bound to take months. Marci even has a place to go and a support system. While she was on conditional release she rented an apartment, and was doing fine. Now somebody else has to pay her rent while she rots in Chicago Read, waiting for the coronavirus, as the wheels of some obscure legal process grind and the taxpayers are fleeced for $800/day.

It is just pure nonsense... that some fine public servant somewhere can’t come up with a rational solution to get these two individuals out of psychiatric slavery, to ease the burden on public resources, and probably to spare a couple lives.

I don’t know any prisoners, but I know plenty of so-called mental “patients” who are in exactly the same boat, or worse. Baker and Webber are just examples. Why can’t we talk about letting a few of these guys go?


  1. I agree. I've been in touch with Marci who says the workers at Chicago Read are not wearing masks. She has posted a poster about Stanley Milgram who was the psychologist who performed tests showing how people will blindly follow instructions. Marci should not still be held, isolated, with no visitors. Her daughter wants her mother to be released - 10 years is enough! She was acquitted and released. Please write to the Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, to ask for her release. You can send a letter and if you wish to remain anonymous, please just describe Marci's condition and confirm that she is not a danger to others and that she is not benefitting from being held at Chicago Read. You can send it to who will forward it to the Governor. Thank you.

  2. I have been in touch with Marci who is asking help to release her. She is not benefitting from being at Chicago Read - and is worried about Covid19 - the staff do not wear masks. She has posted a note about the psychologist Stanley Milgram's famous experiment that showed how many people were willing to follow orders and go against their conscious. Please send a letter to Governor Pritzker requesting Marci's release. You can email it to : who will forward it. Thank you.

  3. I too know Marci from Chicago Read. The Unit is less than 50x50 feet, and Marci is trapped in a horrible situation with a violent girl. The girl targets Marci screaming at her, slamming and pounding every day, even hitting her yet Marci hugs her to calm her down. Said girl gets right in Marci's face and even spits. If this doesn't kill Marci the virus will.

    Most staff are now wearing masks, but not security so Marci in her desperation posted a flyer that keeps getting removed urging the employees (including 3 doctors) to take Marci's Milgram Challenge. Marci wants her situation and non-dangerous status reported to the Governor asking whether IDHS can even touch the 35% Milgram's experiment that did the right thing and stopped the pain. Please show you're the type of employee that in 1944 German would have hid a Jew to save a life. Please, Marci begs you to send a letter to for him to forward. Thank you.