Advocates Launch Allegheny County Jail Health Justice Project | 90.5 WESA
A month ago, Frank Smart made a phone call from the Allegheny County Jail declaring that he was not receiving his anti-seizure medication. A few hours later – after one day of being in the jail’s custody – he was dead.
The sensational opening paragraph above didn’t lead to a hard-hitting story about the often-deadly failure of privatizing prison services.
It led to letting the Prison Industrial Complex player apparently responsible for Frank Smart’s death – Corizon – make a sales pitch to the public.
This is a typical mainstream media ploy, one which the public is increasingly catching on to.
The trouble is, the public is not catching on to NPR using the same ploys … the hard-hitting opening followed by the Corizon commercial closing was theirs.
As regards Frank Smart’s death, and the one that immediately preceded it at the Allegheny County Jail – Clarence Jewett Jr.’s – the Pittsburg Post Gazette did a far better job of reporting … instead of a half-told tale and a free commercial for Corizon, there was instead there was a clear before and after comparison that indicated the jail was in better hands pre-Corizon.
Clarence Jewett Jr. was a schizophrenic. He landed in jail after police were called because he was screaming obscenities. He should have been taken to a hospital. Criminalizing mental illness continues to pick taxpayers pockets for the worst possible outcomes all around, with the very notable exception of the Prison Industrial Complex, which profits wildly from law enforcement, prosecutors and judges continuing to treat mental illness as a crime.
Frank Smith’s arrest was apparently due to an actual crime, although people with epilepsy are frequently arrested for behaviors they display during seizures: walking in circles, speaking incoherently or answering questions nonsensically, disrobing in public, staring into space while ignoring everyone, and more … most seizures don’t result in fall-to-the-ground unconsciousness. Criminalizing this physical illness, like criminalizing mental illness, is a money maker for the Prison Industrial Complex.
Perhaps the worst of criminalizing mental and physical illness for Prison Industrial Complex profit is the incarceration of Traumatic Brain Injured Veterans for displaying behaviors that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or epilepsy cause: thousands upon thousands of Vets have either, or both.
If we want ethical (always cheaper) treatment of the mentally and physically ill, including our wounded warriors, we have to steer all of the Prison Industrial Complex conversations ourselves. We can’t count on the mainstream media most of the time … and we can’t count on NPR, either.
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