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

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

  1. I understand everything you are saying in this video. I helped raise, as his step mother, a boy who was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of three. He is now 28. To the outside world he “looked” normal. You would have to be around him to observe the behaviors. He did make it through college expanding on his obsession as a boy, which was obsessing on certain movies and memorizing the dialogue. His degree is in film and editing. He always found it difficult to be around people who expected a certain type of behavior. He couldn’t understand body language and gestures. He is so gifted in so many areas except people skills. I could easily see him having something like this happen to him. Fortunately the people around him have guided him and watched over him. He still lives at home and appears to have a life he feels good about. I’m so sorry that this has happened to your son. If anyone could give you one example of a benefit from locking him up for 45 years I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    I, too, have an issue that I work with considering the injustice of our justice system concerning the use of solitary confinement and the over use, inhumane treatment of mass incarceration. You can find me at ‘My name is Jamie. Life in Prison’ at http://mynameisjamie.net I wish you complete success.

  2. Reblogged this on Watch and Whirl and commented:
    If you’ve been to my other blog at http://mynameisjamie.net then you are aware of my stance against mass incarceration and the inhumane treatment of many inmates caught in our injustice system.

    I helped to raise a step-son with Aspergers Syndrome. I am aware of the behaviors he describes about his son. Locking him up fir 45 years because of non violent behavior indicative of people with this brain disorder is absurd. It is important to become educated about it. Had the people involved in this situation needed to be aware it is hard for people with Aspergers to have empathy. Even when they were told, why did they not have any empathy?

    I remember, when my stepson was fairly young, a neurologist explained to me that he could be taught behaviors and how to act, and what to say when around people but he would not be able to understand why. He couldn’t understand what people meant with body language or gestures. Things what are easy for me to understand, and even misunderstand. When he was young, he had to be instructed over and over, the importance of standing in a line at school for lunch. He didn’t understand why he had to stand there when he wanted to go to the front. It might seem very simple for you and me, but not for him. He acted out very emotionally when he didn’t understand. He’s 28 now. He has learned how to ‘act’ in society. He learned what was expected of him, but how much of that does he understand why.

    This man, who got 45 years for sending emails trying to get his girlfriend back, who probably couldn’t deal with his quirks anymore, doesn’t deserve to lose his life to prison. Why our justice system fails to understand this is beyond me. Unless it all about needing to keep our prisons full by any means possible.

    Whatever reason they have does not deserve ruining his, and his family’s life. Please share this with your social media and do your part in helping to change this. Thank you.

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