Could we be and less humane? I mostly blame our legislative process, specifically the leadership of the legislature. Our "Get Tough On Crime" gang is harming more Oklahomans than any street thug ever has.
They are like an abusive & tyrannical parent who spanks his child for throwing up on the sofa, and ignoring the 102 degree fever which is threatening the child's very life.
Cluelessness has so many manifestations..
- Despite the bad contraindications, nicotine is a therapeutic for some serious mental illnesses. It's what's called 'self-medicating'. Our society only cares about behavior, not the needs which motivate behavior.
For instance, psychiatry knows not to attempt weaning a mentally ill patient off nicotine until they are very stable, psychiatrically.
- The mentally ill consume 42% of all tobacco products in the USA. But Obama & Pelosi blocked the mentally ill from getting coverage assistance thru the ACA until they've fully weaned off nicotine products; thus excluding many of the worst cases of mental illness.
Penny wise & pound foolish..
- And the Oklahoma legislature raised tobacco taxes to ridiculous rates, saying; "It's so we can help the mentally ill."
Well, that's like raising taxes on wheelchairs, to benefit the handicapped! They don't need that kind of 'help'!
- Oklahoma inpatient psychiatric beds are at about 10% of what they were 50 years ago. That's why our jails & prisons are so full. That's why counties are having to add psychiatric wings onto lockup facilities. That's why county taxes are going up. That's why lawsuit judgments against county sheriffs are at an all-time high.
- Among the worst abuses of incarceration is solitary confinement. It's clear to psychiatrists that isolation is very harmful to mental health, and produces psychosis. For those already in a fragile mental state, the isolation is even more inhumane and shortsighted. It only assures further behavioral problems and lifelong mental impairment. We decry the cruelty of how our military are abused in POW camps. We all but banned the practice in 'international law'. But we somehow look the other way when our prisons make it a common practice.
In short, the state legislature has cut mental health funding and the taxpayers are paying more at the county level than they saved at the state level. Our state Dept. of Corrections is costing us far more than the pennies we thought we saved. There is nothing more naive than a conservative lawmaker who celebrates this as a fiscal victory.
But more importantly, thousands of Oklahoma lives have been ruined. And we spent more on ruining their lives in criminal incarceration than we would have spent on humane short term treatment to help them be productive taxpayers, once again.