CC: Janet Lyness, Johnson County Prosecutor
CC: President Obama, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Charles Grassley
From: Joseph M. Jason –President National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) BA
Regarding: Petition Regarding Daniel S. Jason-Signed by 537 people including many residents of Iowa(See Attached)
Subject: Daniel S Jason should get treatment instead of incarceration. The criminalization of Asperger Syndrome must end.
The crucifixion of Daniel S. Jason in Iowa City, Iowa Posted on September 28, 2013 by josephmjason Overzealous Prosecutors in Johnson County take care of the mentally ill problem by Joseph M. Jason-President NAMI BA
Iowa prosecutors are intending to convict my son and send him to prison again for perhaps 55 years for non-violent crimes. The trial was going to commence October 22, 2013, but there has been a continuance..Recent actions of the prosecution in Iowa City are indicative of the criminalization of Asperger Syndrome. My son will be tried at a future date for extortion and stalking. My son sent various emails and made two phone calls. These charges are a travesty. My wife and I met with the prosecutor in December of last year and explained Asperger Syndrome and mental illness. We explained that our son’s behavior is childlike rather than criminal. We told them he needs treatment and not incarceration.
We gave them a forensic psychiatrist’s report that demonstrates he is not violent. He is a nuisance. We told them that his behavior according to Dr. Mills is typical of one with Asperger Syndrome. We told them he has an organic brain disorder. His criminal behavior consists only of phone calls and emails. This meeting has made no difference. If the Iowa prosecutor’s office was serious about avoiding an expensive trial, they would have offered a humane plea agreement. Instead they offered an agreement of ten years. Subsequently, they even withdrew this offer. Perhaps the voters of Iowa should be told how much it has cost to prosecute and imprison Daniel in Iowa. It has to be in the millions and Daniel could have been treated for a fraction of that.
The typical offender sitting in Johnson County right now has been charged with robbery, theft, murder, sexual abuse, domestic abuse assault, drug offenses etc. My son is not a thug, but yet will get the stiffest sentence out of all of them. It is the criminalization of Asperger Syndrome. A full one-third of the nation’s states get a D or F grade for using mental health courts and crisis intervention teams (CIT) – diversion programs proven to reduce the criminalization of mental illness, the study found. Iowa received a well deserved F. “People with untreated psychiatric disease should be getting the treatment they need before law enforcement shows up at their door because of behaviors caused by their illness,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director. I had a deposition earlier this year recently and they tried to twist Dr. Mills’ report. They not only want to lock him away for 55 years, but they extended the time period of the stalking to include the time he has been in jail. That is punishment fit for a major drug dealer and/or murderer. This case, as it always has, cries out for treatment and not incarceration. I have found a place for my son to live. It is called Trinity in Illinois and it is an excellent place for people with issues similar to my son. That is where he belongs. Daniel was living with us for the entire time and did not go to Iowa. This has not stopped the charges of stalking and extortion. This is not what our founding fathers envisioned that America should be. Daniel has already been in jail and prisons for most of the time since 2007.
Dr. Mills has stated that Daniels’s so called criminal conduct is caused by his Asperger Syndrome. “Mr. Jason cannot legitimately be considered morally responsible for his misconduct.” Dr. Mills also states that “The lack of significant history of violence is important.” As stated in the article, Forensic aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome by Justin B. Barry-Walsh and Paul E. Mullen in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, “It behooves us to draw to the court’s attention the obvious: that patients with Asperger’s Syndrome suffer from mental disorder and that their offending and subsequent disposition must be placed in this context. The core features of Asperger’s Syndrome and how they determine what the individual knows and understand of the world should form a basis for sophisticated assessment of the issues of disability.”
NAMI National , Senator Durbin, and Senator Harkin have been apprised of this situation. NAMI National sent a letter to the presiding Judge. The Autism Society of America believes this to be the most egregious case in the United States. Even Drew Peterson and other murderers have received less of a sentence than my son is facing. Daniel has a brain disorder and needs mental health treatment not incarceration. National organizations such as NAMI and CURE are following this trial. This typifies everything that is wrong in the State of Iowa regarding the Criminalization of the Mentally Ill and Asperger Syndrome. This Criminalization of the Mentally ill must be confronted and stopped. I have seen and heard the overzealous prosecutors. It took courageous people to say no to slavery in our history. We must say no to the incarceration of our non-violent mentally ill. This is my mission in life.
Joseph M. Jason, President NAMI BA (847)537-3009
Member of Criminal Justice Advocacy for People with Mental Illness
583 Cobblestone Lane
Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089
“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.