Brain Cells

“‘What’s your diagnosis?’ I asked. ‘Schizoaffective disorder,’ Joe said, a form of schizophrenia. He asked what I was in for. ‘Murder,’ I replied. In 2001, when I was twenty-four and living in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, I’d shot a fellow drug dealer to defend my turf; six years into my sentence—twenty-eight-to-life—I was shanked six times by his friend in retaliation. Ambulanced to an outside hospital with a punctured lung, I didn’t snitch. In this upside-down kingdom, my backstory gave me cred … ‘Bugout’ was the label Joe carried, just as ‘murderer’ was mine. Here, where bugs were considered bottom-feeders, I wouldn’t want to switch places.” Esquire on the state our mental-health-care system. “Ten of every eleven psychiatric patients housed by the government are incarcerated. Here’s what this crisis looks like from the inside.” This Place Is Crazy by John J. Lennon (who will be eligible for parole in 2029).

+ “Every year, the state of Illinois struggles to find a place for hundreds of children with serious mental-health issues—holding them in psychiatric hospitals for sometimes weeks or months even after they’re cleared for discharge.” The Atlantic: The Kids Who Are Cleared to Leave Psychiatric Hospitals—But Can’t.

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