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Wisconsin’s Prisons Not The Place For Mentally Ill People

June 25, 2009

This is enough to make the most jaded person cry.    I have some comments after a brief summation of the story.

A 21-year-old McFarland man, who struggled with mental illness and was accused of making telephone threats that locked down the UW-Madison campus in 2007, killed himself Monday night, three days after his arrival in a state prison where he was in solitary confinement.

Miller’s mother, Fawne Sandy Grandy, said he had just been transferred from the Wisconsin Resource Center, a mental-health treatment facility for inmates. Sandy Grandy said she notified the center about a month ago that she had received a letter from her son saying he was suicidal.

According to court records, Miller suffered from bipolar disorder and reactive attachment disorder, which stems from not forming normal attachments to primary caregivers at a young age.

It was so unnecessary.  Jesse Miller deserved better than to be thrown into the same correction facility that Jefferey Dahmer also called his last home.

Having had a bi-polar friend languish in a state’s medium security lock up for months due to a manic episode, and then visit her and see the conditions she was thrown into for mental health reasons, alerted me quickly to a serious problem we have in Wisconsin.   The senseless ease with which the state combines real criminals in corrections with those who suffer mental health concerns, such as being bi-polar, is maddening.  There would seem to be enough evidence, such as the sad case today, to support a full review by the Wisconsin State Legislature of how best to deal with those who suffer from mental illness, and treat their cases in a more affirmative and healing environment than throw them into a hardened lock-up meant for the true criminally oriented.

Cold sterile concrete and steel environments, combined with  rough and hardened convicts, is not where a person with bi-polar or other mental health issues should land.  There needs to be a wholesale review of  how in hell Jesse A. Miller ever found himself  at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage when the actions he took resulted from being bi-polar!

We no longer live in the 18th century, or should harbor the mindset from past centuries of what mental health concerns are all about, or how they should be treated.  I repeat, Jesse Miller deserved better than to be thrown into the same correction facility that Jefferey Dahmer also called his last home. 

This is shameful!

One Comment
  1. August 10, 2009 5:45 AM

    My name is Sylvia , I live in the Netherlands and last November started corresponding with a man, who is currently incarcerated in the Green Bay correctional Institution.

    Ever since I have started building a bond with this man and have started to find more pen pals for more of his friends in prison and since I have gotten to know Mrs. Swan and started working with her I found out what “horror (as I call it) has been going on in the Wisoncin prisoners, especially with people who are diagnosed as being mentally ill.

    I have a whole desk full of letters from prisoners who want to tell their story, because they are being treated badly, don’t receive any mental treatment or getting laughed at and rediculed after cutting themselfs.

    We need to find people willing to help get these guys heared.
    So far I have had no succes and I will just keep on trying untill I find a strong partner for us willing to actually fight the system.

    I found that some people have read my emails and maybe even have called the prisons, but they where satisfied with answers like: “it is his own fault, he needs to listen !!”.
    These men were diagnosed mentally ill, so what they do is part of there mental state !!

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