Incarceration of People With Asperger Syndrome-Improvement Ideas

Here are some of  my ideas for improving the system for mentally ill people  incarcerated in the legal system who have Asperger Syndrome. 

1)There must be fair treatment by the criminal justice system for people who have autism.

 

The Autism Society of America and the Criminal Justice Action Committee believes  the following:

  

What ASA and the Criminal Justice Action Committee  is calling for is fair treatment by the criminal justice system for people who have
autism. Specifically, ASA  and the Criminal Justice Action  Committee are calling  for the following:

  • All individuals with autism must have the right to have the condition of autism be considered first, and the implications of having  autism be considered primary to any action taken by the criminal justice system prior to prosecution.  Individuals with autism must have the right to free and appropriate individualized resources (FAIR) to enable them to receive  appropriate education and training in order that they not develop nor continue  behavior that may be viewed as illegal.
  • Proper training in the issues associated with the syndrome of autism must be provided to all individuals associated with the  criminal justice system, including judges, juries, prosecutors, defense lawyers, law enforcement personnel, and any other forensic science  investigators associated with a criminal justice action.
  • Individuals with autism must have the right to have expert witnesses, who understand the disability of autism, available to them in  a court of law.
  • If prosecuted, an individual with autism must have his disability considered primary when sentencing is handed out, e.g.,  consideration of a secure residential autism treatment agency if incarceration is indicated.   The criminal justice system must ensure the protection of the civil rights of the individual with autism should the
    individual be incarcerated in a correctional institution or other human service agency. 
    Individuals with autism must be protected under the American’s with Disabilities Act ensuring that their autism is not the reason  for the conviction in a criminal justice action.

2)Educate mental health courts-I recently provided articles  about Asperger Syndrome to a new mental health court judge in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.      I also gave her a summary of the trials and tribulations of my family.   We were one of many groups that met with her.  My dream is that mental health courts will include people with Asperger Syndrome in the future.

 

3)There is a need for mental health courts  for federal matters.   The fact that people with Asperger Syndrome are getting  sentences of 27 months to 8 years in federal prison raises alarm bells. I know of another one who has been threatened with 30 years.   We need to find out if this is just happening in Iowa or the whole country.    To have to serve years for non-violent crimes and only get a reduction of 15% time is a grave  injustice.   

  

This time I have added my articles to this email.  With your help, I pray that we can make a difference in the incarceration of people with Asperger Syndrome.    While my son is now in a reentry program after 4 years and 4 months, I will continue to advocate as long as I breathe. 

 

 

Joseph M. Jason, President
NAMI BA

Chairman-Criminal Justice
Action Committee

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One thought on “Incarceration of People With Asperger Syndrome-Improvement Ideas

  1. I am writing you today to tell you about an upcoming event that I am participating in that is both very important and very exciting to me. NAMIWalks, the signature walkathon event of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is being held in Chicago, IL at Grant Park: Arvey Field on September 18, 2011.

    As President of NAMI BA and Chairman of the Criminal Justice Action Committee, I see such a great need for our services. As the father of a young man with autism and other mental illness, I have been the recipient of the educational and support services that NAMI provides. Please support me in this walk so that others can benefit from the very important free services that NAMI offers. We have so many great volunteers who teach needed classes such as family to family, who run support groups, who advocate, prepare our newsletter and other volunteer activities. Our membership is growing and as a result we need a larger budget to continue our invaluable work. For example our binders for family to family cost $30.00 to make. It costs money to make and distribute brochures. All of our services are free. Please support us. We serve many other communities outside of the Barrington area.

    I would like to ask you to come and walk with me or to donate to support my participation in this great event. Visit my personal walker page to sign up: http://www.nami.org/namiwalks11/GCH/jmj. It features a link to my team’s page where you can see who else is walking with me. There is also a link so you can donate directly to me online. Donating online is fast and secure, and I’ll get immediate notification via e-mail of your donation.

    NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest education, support and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all whose lives are touched by these illnesses. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers. The NAMI organization is composed of approximately 1100 local affiliates, 50 state offices and a national office.

    The goals of the NAMIWalks program are: to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission.

    NAMI is a 501(c)3 charity and any donation you make to support my participation in this event is tax deductible. NAMI has been rated by Worth magazine as among the top 100 charities “most likely to save the world” and has been given an “A” rating by The American Institute of Philanthropy for efficient and effective use of charitable dollars.

    Thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to working with some of you in the near future.

    Sincerely,
    Joseph Jason

    Joseph M. Jason, President NAMI BA
    Chairman-Criminal Justice Action Committee

    “If societies are judged by how they treat their most disabled members. Our society will be judged harshly indeed,” said E. Fuller Torrey M.D., a research psychiatrist and Treatment Advocacy Founder.

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