Daniel’s Appeal-Hands Up! Stop the Criminalization of Asperger Syndrome and Mental Illness

As noted, the Stalking statute’s purpose is to sweep so broadly as to capture
the mentally ill who do not intend to cause fear of harm to another. Daniel asserts
that the broad sweep of this statute, the deliberate attempt to criminalize the
conduct of mentally ill, and the absence of threats of harm or making any effort to
come within proximity of Ms. Courter in 2012, all are factors that bring this 45
year sentence within the purview of Art. I, § 17 of the Iowa Constitution, which
prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

As previously noted, Daniel’s conduct in 2012 was viewed as irritating and obnoxious and detrimental by Ms. Courter,

but it included no violence or even threats of violence. Daniel did not touch Ms. Courter, or even come within the borders of the

State of Iowa.

Follow the link for the actual Appeal.

https://www.academia.edu/9643058/Hands-Up-Stop_the_Criminalization_of_Asperger_Syndrome-45_Years_For_Two_Voice_Messages_and_16_Emails

 

Habitual Offender Law Was not Meant For Emails and Voice Messages From People with Asperger Syndrome

Dear Department of Justice

The United States Supreme Court stated: The purpose of a recidivist statute such as that involved here is not to simplify the task of prosecutors, judges, or juries. Its primary goals are to deter repeat offenders and, at some point in the life of one who repeatedly commits criminal offenses serious enough to be punished as felonies, to segregate that person from the rest of society for an extended period of time. This segregation and its duration are based not merely on that person’s most recent offense but also on the propensities he has demonstrated over a period of time during which he has been convicted of and sentenced for other crimes.

As an advocate involved with various organizations, I state that The Habitual Offender Law was not meant for offenders who send non-threatening emails and voice messages.  It was meant for violent thugs.

It was not meant for those with Asperger Syndrome who have organic brain disorders and who are non-violent offenders.  It was not meant for the mentally ill who are non-violent.

The State of Iowa has become a place where you are incarcerated for most of your life based upon the opinion of overzealous prosecutors, judges and Police Chiefs who do not have the appropriate knowledge on Asperger Syndrome. Iowa practices what occurred in the movie Minority Report.  Iowa will incarcerate you for your whole life even though you have never been violent.  The deck is stacked against our most vulnerable citizens.

If you have Asperger Syndrome, do not expect any form of justice in Iowa if you are caught up in their legal system. Treatment and not incarceration would have been the true humane sentence instead of a 45 year sentence for Daniel S. Jason.  That is what the National Alliance on Mental Illness believes. ” NAMI believes that persons who have committed offenses due to states of mind or behavior caused by a serious mental illness do not belong in penal or correctional institutions. Such persons require treatment, not punishment. A prison or jail is never an optimal therapeutic setting.

According to the Iowa – Treatment Advocacy Center Reports:

 

Iowa is a “state that is among the stingiest in state mental health expenditures per capita and among the states making the least effort at jail diversion programs. The re-incarceration rate among mentally ill males in the state prisons is twice the rate of non–mentally ill prisoners, and among females, three times as high (Des Moines Register, July 30, 2011). Headlines such as “State Pays Woman Who Blinded Herself in Prison” (Des Moines Register, May 28, 2009) have become more frequent. Court awards are costly, and the incarceration of mentally ill prisoners is far more expensive than it is for other prisoners. The Iowa legislature is mistaken in thinking it is saving money by not treating seriously mentally ill people.”

Sincerely,

Joseph M. Jason

NAMI BA President

CURE IL Board Member

Member of ACLU

The prevalence and treatment of people with Asperger’s Syndrome in the criminal justice system

Ann Browning and Laura Caulfield
criminal justice system
The prevalence and treatment of people with Asperger’s Syndrome in the criminal justice system
Published by:

Understandings of Asperger’s Syndrome in the Criminal Justice System

Numerous authorities have expressed concern that those working within the criminal

justice sector lack the requisite training to respond effectively to those with AS (Allen

et al., 2008; Archer, 2007; Bather et al., 2008; Debbaudt, 2002; Haskins and Silva, 2006; Mayes, 2003; Murrie et al., 2002). Archer (2007), a serving Police Inspector and father to a son with AS, claims that very few professionals in the criminal justice system have any real understanding of autism, and highlights that many with ASDs remain undiagnosed, misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, diagnosed after imprisonment (Mayes, 2003); or while detained in a mental health facility (Scragg and Shah, 1994). According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), 90 per cent of police officers and 80 per cent of

solicitors consider understandings of autism within the legal profession to be inadequate (Adams-Spink, 2005), thus lending credence to the view that the criminal justice system is not sufficiently knowledgeable to manage effectively those with AS. Murrie et al. (2002) suggest that the responses of criminal justice professionals and those involved in the justice process are inconsistent, particularly in terms of sentencing. They argue that an offender with AS who demonstrates a deficit of empathy may be misunderstood and thought of as cold, calculating, remorseless and as such potentially a recidivist offender – thus eliciting little sympathy. The outcome may differ significantly however if: the decision-maker sees deficient empathy as a neurobiological deficit, it may be a mitigating factor that elicits sympathy from the police, prosecutors, or jurors who feel compassion for a person with an impoverished emotional life and see the defendant as congenitally deficient in one or more of the normal inhibitors against crime. (Murrie et al., 2002: 66)

Having explored the experiences of six individuals with AS who became involved

with the criminal justice sector, Allen et al. (2008) conclude that those with the disorder

are vulnerable and describe how the majority of individuals with a diagnosis of AS who

do fall foul of the law struggle to negotiate the criminal justice system. Mayes (2003: 98)

in particular writes of the lack of understanding demonstrated within the judicial process, and expresses concerns that:

a criminal defendant with autism may find his fate resting in the hands of jurors who may entertain common misperceptions about autism, and who may be sceptical of expert witnesses who themselves may not be familiar with autism … the life and liberty of a criminal defendant with autism may rest in the hands of an ‘expert’ who has only a cursory knowledge of the  defendant’s impairment.”

 

 

CURE ILLINOIS We must stop religious discrimination by eliminating this form of identification on the badge in the Illinois Department of Corrections

October 20, 2014

The Honorable Patrick Quinn

Governor

The State of Illinois

 

An Inmate does not enter a prison gate destitute of all their constitutional rights.

— Jackson v. Hollowell, 714 F. 2d 1372, 1383 (5th Circuit, 1983). 

One of our most treasured founding principles was the separation of church and state. Yet in Illinois we violate this principal and First Amendment protection for over 49,000 people daily.

An incarcerated person, under the First Amendment has the right to freely observe their religion without a fear of being subjected to physical and emotional abuse.

This is not the case in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The practice of requiring a person to declare their religious preference when they become wards of the state is not supported by any law, nor does it appear in any administrative directive. It is basically an ‘unofficial’ requirement.

 An inmate’s religion is on the prisoners’ badge of all incarcerated persons in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  A prisoner, who does not declare their religion during the intake process, is listed as an atheist. A prisoner who wishes to investigate and attend a service of another religion will do so strictly at a guard’s discretion. The average age at incarceration is less than 22; most people are still deciding what religion they will observe during their lifetime. Inmates can change their minds about their beliefs, but it is virtually impossible to change religions on their identification badge and explore another faith.

Public Law 94-521 prohibits the Federal Government from requiring religion as a means of identification. The Federal Prison System and all states, except Illinois, ceased the practice of displaying an inmate’s faith on the identity badge that they are required to wear. The basis of this decision was that this practice is a violation of human rights, as well as the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The Illinois Department of Corrections is the sole hold out and this is strictly by administrative choice. No Illinois legislative documentation exists, mandating that an inmate be earmarked in this fashion. Anti-Semitic or religious targeting is a consequence of an inmate’s religion being prominently stated on their badge. The resulting emotional or physical harm to an inmate is less than tolerable.

Illinois Department of Corrections doctrine provides no valid reason or purpose for this vilification and the stigma it creates for an inmate. At best, justification is the Supreme Court announcing in Turner v. Safley. “The standard for legality of prison policies under the Constitution holds: “when a prison regulation impinges on an inmates’ constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penal-logical interests. Courts are to consider four factors in determining whether this logical relationship exists:

                 A PETITION

 

Pg. 2

 

(1) whether there is a “valid, rational connection” between the prison regulation and the legitimate governmental objective proffered to justify it;

 (2) the availability of “other avenues” for exercising a protected right;

 (3) the impact that accommodating the right might have upon other prisoners, guards, or the distribution of prison resources,

 (4) whether there are “ready alternatives” to the policy.”

Declaring one’s religious affiliation is not necessary for prison safety. It is not on your driver license or a state id. The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious affiliation in its demographic surveys or decennial census. In fact, Public Law 94-521 prohibits us from asking any questions about someone’s religious affiliation on a mandatory basis; in any personal or household survey. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.”

Controversially, significant medical problems are not permitted or stated on an inmate’s badge in Illinois correctional facilities, even by prisoner request. The lack of identification of life-threatening medical conditions has caused epileptics, heart patients, diabetics and others to suffer unjustified punishment because they are ill.

There is no safety risk or adverse outcome to either a guard or another inmate that correlates with the cessation of this heinous practice. Instead it allows discrimination based on religion. It fosters segregation and incites interpersonal differences.  Therefore, eliminating this procedure would seem a prudent decision.

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment defines this: “Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.

We must stop religious discrimination by eliminating this form of identification.

Please stop this heinous practice immediately.

Criminalization of Asperger Syndrome and Mental Illness-To:Sam Hargadine-Police Chief Iowa City

 Mr. Hargadine:
 Your police department was instrumental in making sure Daniel S.  Jason received a 45 year sentence for emails and two voice messages.  Daniel did not come to Iowa and did not commit any violence.  I am  recommending your police department and others in the Iowa and Illinois states watch my interview on a cable show called Cooper’s Corner.  As in  the Ferguson police shooting, it is my opinion that the Department of Justice should conduct an investigation into your police department, the prosecutor’s office and the judicial system for cruel and unusual punishment towards people with Asperger Syndrome, mental illness and disabilities. This is the opinion of Joseph M. Jason and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Joseph M. Jason, President NAMI(National Alliance on Mental Illness) BA
Chairman Criminal Justice Action Committee
(847)537-3009