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.”
Joseph M. Jason
NAMI BA President
CURE IL Board Member
Member of ACLU