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Inviting disaster

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An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Nov. 25 about Jquan Humphrey has raised many issues for me about how the mentally ill are treated in the criminal justice system.

In 2009 at the age of 16 Mr. Humphrey shot and seriously injured two people. He was judged seriously mentally ill and therefore not competent to stand trial and sent to prison. While there he threw a bag of urine at a guard and spit on another guard. This shows that he was probably not receiving any treatment for his mental illness. He was sent to prison in accordance with the PA Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976 that requires a court to determine if a person can regain competency with treatment and therefore stand trial. This creates a double-edged Catch-22.

The first is that the only two facilities in Pennsylvania that can provide the type of treatment needed to restore a person to competency are Torrence and Norristown State. These facilities cannot accept anyone who is already in prison. The sensible thing to do would be to send a mentally ill offender directly to one of these facilities for treatment.

This brings up the second problem. If a person cannot be restored to competency then he or she should stay in the treatment facility permanently. If a person is restored to competency he/she is then put on trial for a crime committed while ill. The well person is usually aghast at what the ill person has done. The best way to describe the difference between a mentally ill person and that same person who has been stabilized on medication is to imagine two completely different people inhabiting the same body but at different times. There are currently several long acting anti-psychotic medications that can be delivered by monthly injections. A more humane and reasonable approach would be to then release that stabilized person to a community facility where medication and behavior can be monitored. If the person refuses to continue taking medication or starts to decompensate then he/she can be put on trial for the original offense and sent to prison.

The system proposed by the latest court ruling of dropping all charges and releasing the person into the community is inviting disaster since the person is once again a threat to himself or herself and the community.

I realize that money drives many of these issues but I believe that the approach I have suggested would result in significant savings to the taxpayer. Unfortunately the only way anything can be changed is by legislative action. Urge your PA senator and representative to sponsor or support the necessary changes.

Romona Flitter

Past President, Northeast Philadelphia chapter of The Alliance for Mental Illness

Thanks all around

Dear neighbors, I, Aaron Bashir, sincerely want to praise and thank our Lord God for His guidance, grace and favors. Especially thanks to all those who voted for me and who worked long hours at the polling stations. I want to thank all of you for your tremendous support for my congressional campaign. Thank you for your prayers, hard work, dedication, commitment and support. Especially thanks to all of our campaign managers, ward leaders, committee members and all the churches for their unconditional support. Above all, thanks a lot to my wife and children for their overwhelming support as I could not give them much time that was really needed due to our campaign’s demands.

Especially thanks to Sen. Doug Mastriano, Dr. Oz and Congressman GT Thompson for their endorsement and support. Although the results were not favorable and we lost the election, I am very proud of the message that we spread throughout our positive campaign that we ran. Our city and nation are hurting badly because of skyrocketing crimes, illegal drugs, inflation and open borders. Above all, the radical Left’s agenda to make America Godless and immoral is devastating. No doubt, there is one solution to all the problems of our country, let’s turn back to God as a nation to honor and obey God as our founding fathers did to have a stronger and prosperous America. Though we have lost a fight, we would not lose the ultimate battle against wickedness and lawlessness. We would not give up, and we would not get discouraged. We would learn from our mistakes and become stronger and smarter to win the ultimate battle against wickedness.

Also, I want to congratulate my opponent, Brendan Boyle, for a huge victory and offer my prayers and best wishes that he would be more attentive to the real needs and concerns of our constituents.

In the end, I again want my friends, supporters and voters to not get sad and discouraged because I believe we are on the right side of history for standing with God and righteousness. I still believe that something bigger and better is coming because I know ” … that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Don’t lose hope and let’s trust in God.

God bless America!

Aaron Bashir

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