I refer all of you to the book “Crazy In America ” by Mary Beth Pfeiffer. She discusses the Iowa prison mental health care on pages 42 and 43. For thirty years, Iowa’s prison mental health care was in the hands of Paul L. Loeffelholz, a Psychiatrist who ran the Iowa Security Medical Facility in Oakdale. A state official described Oakdale as “ Iowa ’s version of Dachau , the Nazi concentration camp. Some of the treatment of prisoners included having mouths taped shut, injection of drugs to induce vomiting, locking inmates naked and hog-tied, and denial of food. Loeffelhoz’s philosophy toward mentally ill criminals was an unabashed disdain for coddling and insistence on responsibility. “Mental illness is no bar to a person’s doing time.” In 1999, the Iowa Board of Medical Examiners concluded that Loeffelholz was negligent and incompetent. Loeffelholz routinely “exhibited a pattern of minimizing symptoms of mental illness and assuming that all aberrant behavior is a result of a rational choice by a responsible individual even in the face of extreme symptoms of psychosis.”
I am stating to you based on my experience in the Iowa legal system that the mentality by the prosecution, Judges, and pre-sentencing interviewers in many instances have not changed. They continue to minimize symptoms of mental illness. They lack training about mental illness and Asperger Syndrome (high functioning autism). They need to be enlightened. The system must change. They still think when you have an organic brain disorder, punishment will deter future crimes.
Pretend for a moment that perhaps this is your son, daughter, spouse, and cousin. The question I ask you is what would you do? I would start by voting for John Zimmerman.