Why not a different approach?

Just read an article on 19 year old Justin Carter. Carter is being held on a half million dollar bond for essentially making a terroristic threat over the internet. The threat, not one to be taken lightly, was purportedly made following the end of an aggressive video game playing session. This young man has been held in jail since February, 2013. He’s been the subject of beatings and abuse by other inmates.

Here’s my question: In the face of research that indicates the human brain isn’t fully formed until the age of 25 or 26, couldn’t we find some other way to deal with Mr. Carter pretrial? Perhaps some psychological evaluations and treatment. Perhaps looking at whether he fits the psychological profile of someone who would shoot up a school. Determine whether he’s a hot-headed kid who needs treatment to manage his anger or impulse control.

Could the justice system find a way to sort through the threats to society rather than locking up everyone for indeterminate periods of time?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run to help the folks who can be helped instead of paying to house them and provide medical treatment for them? The current system perpetuates a cycle for those who could be helped but cannot access treatment from incarceration.

Will a jury even find him guilty?

The system needs to change.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Why not a different approach?

  1. karen

    The system decided a couple of decades ago that it was “cheaper” not to house and treat those with various mental problems, and in the short term, of course, it WAS cheaper. There was an immediate savings in space provided, personnel to oversee and treat them, and daily provision for them. It did, however, mean a population of people on the streets with untreated mental disorders; most of these people were unwilling or unable to take care of themselves in various ways, including taking the medications that would have kept/had been keeping them balanced and functional at whatever level they were capable of maintaining. It meant and has continued to mean escalating problems for the larger society as well as for those people who NEED CARE.
    I’m not sure the system will change back, because it would mean recognizing a huge error.

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