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Crazy in America: The Hidden Tragedy of Our Criminalized Mentally Ill Paperback – May 15, 2007
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"Crazy in America: The hidden tragedy of our criminalized mentally ill" gives us the story of six individuals whose stories transcend throughout our prison system. We have taken people who have been diagnosed with mental illness and put them into a prison that seeks punishment rather than help that is desperately needed. Dollars no longer go into Mental Health but into prison systems that lack the necessary tools to help those with mental illness. Instead, our prison system feeds their psychosis by locking those mentally ill in a cell for 23 hours a day for long periods of time.
This is the book we have been waiting for, a book that is not only beautifully written, but gives us a glimpse of our failing, broken, and inadequate prison system. This book is informative and heartbreaking, but above all, it gives grounds to why we MUST fix our shattered prison system.
The sixth person the author writes about is Shayne, my niece, the focus of my advocacy work and truly a special person and survivor. As I read Shayne's story I grieved for the horror that was unfolding once again before my eyes. The anguish of not being able to stop the crime that landed her in jail and eventually an Iowa prison. The self mutilations of her right eye and two years later her left eye. Six months after blinding herself she dislodged four of her teeth trying to bite off her finger. Visions of this vulnerable and sick woman destroying herself one digit at a time terrified my thoughts as I pleaded and begged for help from whomever would listen. Four months later Shayne tried to bite a whole through her cheek and I wondered if it would ever end. All of these incidences happened while in isolation cells. Shayne has proven, at least to me, that isolation is not treatment. The prison environment was to stressful for her coping skills and she started a downhill slide 1 year into what would be 5 years behind bars.
It is hard to write a review of a book that causes you to feel so much pain and suffering.Read more ›
New York State is on the verge of passing a law that greatly restricts the practice of placing people with psychiatric disabilities in solitary confinement, the first state in the country to do so. We must immediately begin to improve mental health care in the community, so that people do not find themselves in jail as a result of untreated symptoms. Pfeiffer spells out this message unambiguously. Her book should be required reading for anyone with any interest in human rights and assigned as a textbook in every medical school.
Pfeiffer gives us in depth case studies of six people with mental illness and their tragic encounters with the criminal justice system. Only one, Shayne Eagan of Iowa, is still alive. She gouged her eyes out while under care of state. Over and over Pfieffer demonstrates how deadly the use of isolation is, not only for the mentally ill, but also for all human beings. Yet this is the response of choice of those in corrections.
The author gives us her list of 10 things that must be done to address this tragic situation. Reading her book should motivate many of us to contact our legislators and urge them to take the steps that are needed to address this scourge on our land and to personally monitor what is happening regarding mental health services and criminal justice in our own states and communities. If you do nothing else: speak out against the building of more prisons.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a forensic psychology student, I have lent and recommended this book to many professors and classmates who work in law enforcement, corrections, rehabilitation, law, and such.Published 6 months ago by Emily
Pretty good- uses individual narratives, separated by statistics, to drive home her message. But if you've read E. Fuller Torrey, then don't both with this one. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ali
Pfeiffer does an excellent job of putting a face on the maddening criminalization of mental illness in the US.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought it because there is a story about my neighbor in it. I did research and wanted to find out what really happened to him and a google search led me to an excerpt in this... Read morePublished 10 months ago by chris
Great tool to open our eyes on how the mentally ill are treated in America.Published 15 months ago by cristi leathers
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Here is a of true stories of the mentally ill in the correctional system. This is a human rights issue and the facts of the book unfold the inhumane treatment of the mentally ill.Published 17 months ago by grace