Down These Mean Streets

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November 30, 2015 | 7 Comments


  1. What a refreshingly light-hearted post – but with a serious storyline that too many of us recognise from real life.

  2. I’ll second that about Mickey Nardo. For starters, I am in awe of his output. Plus, he hits the target consistently. Someone to be reckoned with!

  3. Locking up people with serious mental illness is one of the worst aspects of the US prison-industrial complex. Some of us worked for years just trying for a ban on the death penalty for offenders with severe mental illness. It took till 2005 or so for NAMI to sign on — and I was genuinely grateful, as some mental-health advocates wouldn’t even go that far. In the past year or so this has suddenly become a mainstream concern, maybe even the “moderate” prison-reform solution du jour. I shoulda been happy. Why wasn’t I?

    Dr. Nardo has helped me figure it out: First of all, unless we’re talking about truly trivial offenses mainly tied to being homeless, it’s possible most “mentally ill offenders” won’t be getting out of prison at all — just dosed with psychiatric drugs in prison. That’s already a trend growing out of control as this man’s plight makes clear. Second, the number of US prisoners said to have “mental illness” keeps expanding with the level of mainstream “awareness” — from 10 or 15%, to 40% or more by some accounts. Especially if you count people like Mickey’s patient.

    That makes me think the issue is being used by some to let our (truly insane) prison system off the hook. It’s likely this man was never part of “the Mentally Ill” in any real sense–he was just human. Solitary confinement and crowded, dehumanizing prisons without work or education programs will drive any of us humans a bit over the edge. Drowning the problem in Paxil or Seroquel won’t change that.

    • The UK story would read rather similar to your account of the US scenario I regret to say Johanna. I suppose that many prisoners who are classed as “mentally ill” have that label when, truly, “definitely not physically ill” or “mentally damaged by presc. drugs” would better fit the bill. Our son, when jailed (having been damaged by presc. drugs as we found out later) was shocked to see the queue for medications each day – mainly for psychiatric drugs and his comment was “If I shouldn’t have been sent to prison then the majority of the men in here shouldn’t have been either – they need proper support not more and more pills”. Same goes for street drugs in prisons here too – easier to supply the need rather than support the dependence with therapy. What a sorry state of affairs.

  4. It is probably safe to say that Prisons and Mental Hospitals are the greatest offenders.

    Mary, you have your sons prison experience and I have a Mental Hospital, experience..the queues for the morning ‘medication’ trolley being the one place where it is all on the table, dished up, daily, with not a murmur of dissent from the drugged..

    Down these Mean Streets is a wonderful evocation of someone who’s almost daily digest keeps us informed with wit and humour…..

    IBOM and RIAT…“Here’s looking at you, kid”

    Thank you, Mickey Nardo, sensational achievements..not sure about ‘your support network’..

  5. In United State prisons there is a blog on Jpay called When Prisoners Become Patients, it’s a blog where people/family can voice concerns. And this is a very, very big concern.

    Apparently our prison system has a ‘Forced Drug Withdrawal Program’. What this means is that when you loved one is incarcerated, and the family can’t afford to put or keep money in his prison account, then that inmate goes without his medication since he isn’t able to pay for it. Going into Forced Withdrawal.

    This is the sickest, most tragic, inhumane way to treat our prisoners. In fact, I can’t believe that it’s even legal, but it’s very legal.

  6. Sandra, don’t you think ‘forced’ withdrawal is happening in UK Surgeries and Hospitals because PIL leaflets describe every form of side effect that ‘Doctors’ don’t read and anyone can meet a ‘Doctor’ after being told ‘See your Doctor’ on the PIL Leaflet repetitively.

    Why should ‘Doctors’ in Prisons be any more unaware than any other ‘Doctor’ in a hospital setting or a medical practice setting than anywhere else.

    Indeed, ‘forced’ withdrawal all over the UK and Ireland has led to many instances of Death from Withdrawal..a day, a week, a month, and, Sandra, violence in prisons is seen as acceptable ‘power for the course’ prisoners are violent….and so is the ‘course’ of all ~Anti~De~Press~Ants~ which Pharmaceutical Companies Hide Behind..with their PIL leaflets.

    Being in a Prison setting off on one from withdrawal is horrific, but, living in your own property with your own life and it happening, is that worse?

    GlaxoSmithKline have buried many children, put people in prison, put people in winning legal cases…so, prisons, show it up more realistically, but, is this any PILs..?

    It all comes back down to ‘Doctors’ whose self regard is wholly for their own benefit.

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