Kudos to the Mountain Xpress article, “Debtors prison: Low-income defendants jailed for months awaiting trial for misdemeanors” [Jan. 24]!
But that is only one thing wrong about how the criminal justice system treats the poor.
Another thing wrong is the drugging of mentally ill defendants who are in jail awaiting trial! They keep them so heavily doped up, so heavily drugged and so heavily sedated that they can’t help their court-appointed attorneys prepare a defense, nor defend themselves in court during their trial!
The courthouse system keeps them heavily sedated in order to ensure victory for the state! Keeping jailed mentally ill defendants zonked out on tranquilizers in order to ensure victory for the state should be a national and local scandal! It should rank right up there with low-income defendants not being able to make unjust and unfair bail!
If we at the local level would find a way to make bail for low-income defendants, then our jails couldn’t drug low-income mentally ill defendants the way they do now, while they languish in jail unable to make bail!
Of course, the criminal justice system will lie and tell us that the jailed mentally ill defendants are court-ordered by a judge to be medicated while in jail awaiting trial in order to “stabilize” them so they can help in their defense! But that’s a bald-faced lie!
Have you ever seen the “stabilized” mentally ill help defend themselves in court? No! They sit there not able to move or speak, too tranquilized to do either! Which is just the way the criminal justice system likes it! And wishes to keep it! It’s another notch on their gun!
— Richard D. Pope