By Steve Pomper
Judges can order a mental health evaluation if there’s a question about a criminal defendant’s competency. Reportedly, both initial referrals and the subsequent findings of not mentally competent to stand trial are increasing.
According to The Seattle Times, over the past decade, in King County, Washington, felony mental health referrals have risen 155% and 108% for misdemeanors. But the claims of professional befuddlement at the increases seem disingenuous. There are many possible causes and combined causes that should spring to my mind.
For one, is it a coincidence that court-ordered mental health assessments and diversions have been increasing at the same time Soros-funded (-type) prosecutors have also been increasing nationwide? It seems these radical leftist officials will do anything to defer, divert, or simply release criminal defendants—after they somehow manage to get arrested. How is this aspect of the mental health referral increase not a thing? Is it hard to believe these non-prosecutors would use mental health diversion as another tool to non-prosecute?
A former military prosecutor and judge, Charles “Cully” Stimson, told The Washington Times, “Soros has funded, directly or indirectly, over 75 district attorney races across the country since 2016. In many races, the Soros money represents the vast majority of money received by the candidate.”
A University of Washington professor who is the director of the Center for Mental Health, Policy, and the Law at UW Medicine said, about the rise in mental health diversions, “That really is a million-dollar question.” Is it? Even the Times titled its article, “The puzzling rise of defendants too sick to stand trial in WA.” Puzzling?
The director added, “In Washington state, we know we have a higher prevalence [of mental illness] and lower access to treatment than many other states.” Wait… why do I hear, let’s throw more government/taxpayer money at the problem?
And it’s not just in jet blue Washington State. Courts are also seeing rises in other blue-hued locations like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Times reported, “Washington isn’t the only state seeing this increase, and faced with a complicated mosaic of the fentanyl crisis, homelessness and mental illness, state officials and national experts wonder: What’s driving this uptick? Are people truly getting sicker — and if so, why?” What do they mean, why?
By Steve Pomper
Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston
Why involves radical leftists’ promotion of intentionally lax law enforcement and their refusal to prosecute crimes vigorously. Often, addicts and the mentally ill find services and treatment where robust law enforcement and those people intersect when they commit crimes.
This irresponsible misuse of law enforcement decreases at-risk people’s opportunities to get the addiction or mental health assistance they need. Are prosecutors and leftist judges intentionally diverting people to mental health assessment? I don’t know. But shouldn’t it be a part of the discussion?
A well-respected and nationally consulted Massachusetts forensic and clinical psychologist, who’s also worked in California, says not only are the initial competency referrals going up, but the findings of incompetent to stand trial are also rising.
Doesn’t that infer past findings of incompetent to stand trial have been much rarer compared to the initial referrals? Are the incompetency conclusions also increasing because officials are using them as a tool to avoid prosecution? Am I crazy to wonder about this, these days?
Mental Health America says, “Mental Health America (MHA) supports maximum diversion from the criminal justice system for all persons accused of crimes for whom mental health or substance use treatment is a reasonable alternative to confinement or other criminal sanctions” .
Living on streets, drug addicted, mental illness
This possible additional arrow in the radical leftists’ non-prosecution, de-incarceration quiver should be an obvious part of this discussion. And its absence in the discussion is both glaring and revealing. Sadly, this is the radical left’s standard operating procedure: we’re right; you’re wrong, just shut up, and do what we say.
Could it be a combination of several factors? That’s likely. The combinations include a reluctance to charge and prosecute crimes committed by “homeless,” including the mentally ill and drug addicts, the Fentanyl scourge, and maybe even the dubious medicating of young people over recent decades? Researchers are currently exploring the latter category with regard to mass shooters’ mental health.
What happens when you’re conditioned from a young age to taking a medication that alters your behavior/mood? You become accustomed to it, right? Then, when you’re taken off the meds, wouldn’t you reflexively look for a replacement—drug addiction? And there are likely people not on psych meds who should be, who may commit crimes when decompensating, which shows the intricacy of the issue.
But, until the “experts” are willing to look at all the possible reasons for the increasing court-ordered mental competency referrals, including the radical leftists’ aversion to prosecutions and incarcerations, how can we find effective solutions? Then again, the cynic in me wonders if ignoring certain “inconvenient” aspects is the point. You can’t run an election on a solved issue or funnel money to the “homeless industrial complex,” if there are no increases of people living on the streets—addicted, mentally ill, or otherwise.