I’m not formally educated on our justice system but I know what I’ve seen and experienced
Imagine having a mental illness or disability of some sort. That could be depression and anxiety, ADHD or a number of other things, physical and/or mental.
In your struggle to feel happiness, you discover something that brings you respite, if only for a few minutes or hours: something that makes you feel good for a change. Drugs, alcohol, other addictions; who wouldn’t want to feel happy or escape?
Inevitably, you end up in legal trouble with a record and have to comply with what seems like a never-ending list of demands in order to stay out of trouble. You lose your license and can’t get a job as you enter the cycle. The more you lose, the more demands “they” put upon you. It’s a recipe for failure.
People may judge you but you didn’t just wake up one day and say to yourself “I think I’ll fuck up my life”. You are dealing with compulsions and mental anguish others may not understand.
If you’re incarcerated, you’ll be lucky to receive mandatory evaluations and healthcare. You may be denied medication or support for withdrawal from substances. The jail may even kill you through negligence.
Judges, prosecutors, jail staff, and community corrections officers emotionally terrorize you, lie, deny you food, and retaliate against you at gunpoint. They casually share your private information with other agencies. Some are racists.
You are set up for failure as this group of so-called professionals neglect their duties to the public. They mess up your paperwork and cause legal complications that you are always blamed for and are expected to fix.
God forbid you speak up for yourself or correct a mistake they’ve made. They will claim you aren’t taking responsibility. They may say you have a victim mentality. They are prepped to shrug off anything you say in your own defense.
Public defenders can’t do their jobs properly and some don’t seem to want to. Once I was waiting in Issaquah Washington when I heard a public defender confer with a disabled veteran who made noises he couldn’t help. After his client left, the public defender approached the clerk’s window and loudly mimicked the disabled man’s outbursts. He said to the court clerk “can you imagine spending an hour with that”? His name is Shawn McCully.
I complained to the state bar about him and they did nothing.
Disability rights laws need to be followed and enforced. We need to focus on providing community support.
My heart breaks for those who can’t defend themselves. I do not appreciate apathy and I don’t respect those who are so careless with the lives of others.
To cope, I help others as much as I can. I study the laws so I can stand up for myself and others. I challenge those who are abusing the system but risk retaliation.
Every once in a while, though, I get to see the look on the face of an abuser when they realize the person they thought was their prey is smiling at them…