1. Mike Earley is told by mental health professionals that his bipolar illness was no reason to be embarrassed. (216) Unfortunately, each time he tried to get a job as soon as the word “bipolar” was said, the interviews were over. (217) The bias against him was very clear. The one job he did get let him go after his misdemeanors were brought to light. Many personnel departments have strict rules about who they hire. What are your feelings on these policies? What can be done to assist those people with mental health issues who want to work? Probationary employment contracts?
2. Pete Earley addresses the issue of CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) for law enforcement officers dealing with the mentally ill on the streets. Earley quotes Lieutenant Cochran as saying there is a “real prejudice” against the mentally ill. Cochran continues: “Unfortunately, the police mirror that, and Hollywood magnifies it by always showing mentally ill persons as violent and dangerous and sadistic.” (354) Do you agree?
Submitted by Bonnie Akkerman I pledge…
1. How common do you think the actions and view of the three officers from block c is in other prisons in the United States when relating to mentally ill patients?
2. Do you think it’s common for the mentally ill like Jackson to be taken advantage of for green card marriage?
Submitted by Parker Siebenschuh I pledge….
1. Do you think lawyers are entirely to blame for the issues with mental health and incarceration, or is it some other or combination of factors?
2. Towards the end of the book, Earley calls for the reopening of mental health institutions to solve the growing incarcerations of the mentally ill. Do you agree that institutions should reopen? Why or why not?
Submitted by Audrey Schroeder. I pledge…
1. I find that police resistance to the implementation of CIT to be a little ironic (and also a bit ridiculous) since, as Earley points out, they already have various other specialized units. There appears to be a serious underestimation of the value of CIT until during such time it could have been used to prevent a situation. To me this makes it seem as if police departments do not see CIT as a valuable form of help or prevention. Do you think this is a stigma associated with mental health? If so, why?
2. Earley states “Our jails and prisons have becomes our nation's new asylums because there is nowhere else for the mentally ill to go,” (pg. 355). In light of this horrific drawback from deinstitutionalization, would you consider a return to asylums an adequate start to a solution? This is keeping in mind the Hollywood sensationalism and stigmatization. Do you think we, as a society, could accept such a reform after all the horrible representations of asylums in popular culture?
Submitted by Lyndsey Clark. I pledge…
1. Jeff Robinson is unable to fill his prescription of two different doses of Zyprexa he needs (10 mg and ½ of 5 mg) to make the precise 12.5 mg he needs to not make him anxious or loopy (346). Instead, he gets prescribed a single 15 mg dose to save costs for Medicaid. How is this more efficient and cost saving when it’s not obvious how to cut a 15 mg pill into a 12.5 mg pill? Presumably there are many other people that face this predicament.
2. Earley cites a Florida official saying that Tom Mullen’s Passageway program is “a model of the state, maybe even the nation…it’s one of the few programs that actually works” (320). If that’s the case, why hasn’t it been implemented more widely as Earley argues that it should be?
Submitted by Chris O'Neill
1.) Do you think that there are any downsides within the claim of mental disorders being caused by faulty brain chemistry? (69)
2.) Earley explains how the approach to “treating” mental health concerns is a continuous cycle of neglect, abuse, greed, and waste; a continuous circle. Do you think, if possible, there could be a way to solve this epidemic (besides the obvious)?
Submitted by Erica Banks. I pledge.
1) On page 242, one officer justifies their abuse of the mentally ill inmates on the ninth floor as a result of lack of resources. Do you think that a lack of resources justifies their abuse? Or should they find other means of reprimanding the inmates?
2) Continuing off the above question, though they say they have a lack of resources, they are still able to gain access to large amounts of pepper spray that they can “gas” patients out with. Does this show that all of their resources for the ninth floor are inherently dangerous/abusive?
3) The female officer on page 244 also mentions how no one likes working the ninth floor because those people did not choose to lose their minds like how some other inmates “chose” to commit crimes. Do you think that fear from the officers of the possibility of losing their own minds impacts their treatment of the mentally ill inmates?
Submitted by Mallory Karnei (I pledge…)
The general argument behind Earley's book is that mental illness is currently being treated by prisons and other punitive facilities a disproportionate amount of the time. Whether intentional or not, Earley frames this as a problem somewhat unique to the early 2000s. As historians, we know this isn't exactly true, and that the prison industrial complex has a history spanning back decades. Would you say this book truly could have been written anytime from the 1990's to today?
2. Do you believe “Crazy” deserved the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction? (I think he was a finalist)