Interesting article written by Robert Tilford – that goes into detail about one man’s account of battling mental disorders within Arizona’s prisons:
In many of these cases he was frustrated that he was not getting his anti-psychotic medication on time or being dosed properly.
He was also targeted by other inmates repeatedly who recognized the fact he had schizophrenia and was bipolar to the max. “It didn’t take much”, he said “for inmates to trigger me.”
“Prisoners in the jails and prison system would often taunt and tease him”, he suggested. “Or goat him in certain situations and make fun of him for hearing and responding to voices in his head.”
He indicated “these voices torment me – even today.” “They command me to hurt people and hurt myself…” I should mention that he does have the where with all to know he needs his medications to survive and help control the voices inside his head, who he describes as his “demons.”
The situation is so bad, he is afraid of seeking out aid from community programs CBlis; due to the constant harassment of police:
He feared being feed back into the Maricopa County jail or Arizona prison system – so he maintains what he calls a “low profile”, and avoids confrontations with the phoenix police – who can sometimes be brutal in their treatment of the seriously mentally ill. Reports of the police stopping persons for “trespassing on public sidewalks” or “sleeping in parks or n bus stops” are quite common.
You can also be arrested for vagrancy in some areas or trespassing should they need or want a reason to harass you for the crime of being poor, being homeless or whatever. In many cases the police approach people with guns drawn or with Tasors at the ready – with green dot lasers pointers aimed at their chests.
As someone who has done ministry and volunteer work with the homeless on a personal level, I can assure you that this is not an isolated incident. Using fear and intimidating tactics are common against the homeless.
The mental health care system here in Arizona is broken and beyond repair. Falling between the cracks is easier than you might think. If you see someone who’s homeless… offer to help. Spend time with them, love them, provide food/clothing, and share time with them.