As we increasingly find our civil rights being decimated, know that it extends to all areas of life. And when any member of the Industrial complexes in America - Medical, Judicial, Educational - decides to put the evil eye on you and designate you "persona non grata" know that you and yours will not come out on the winning end.
First we have the idea of 'zero tolerance' and that is of course putting kids out of school for any number of convoluted reasons. I really get this I do as I work with kids but there is so much going on here that I cannot even delve into the complex reasons kids are challenged to act and behave the way they do. The sheer number of shootings and attempted acts of violence at the hands of children say we have a lot of problems that we clearly aren't addressing. And frankly when we are "afraid" of children what does that say for and about our culture? But here are two cases of the punishment and the crime once again don't match.
I just watched the most amazing Danish movie, The Hunt, starring the fabulous Mads Mikkelsen. The story is one familiar to us all as it parallels the famous McMartin case decades ago. The idea of a child telling a "story" that is seized and in turn used to destroy lives without any provocation or justification shows how adults convolute, manipulate and add their own versions and bias of events to add even more salacious and disturbing element to the narrative. Then when you have genuine situations of abuse as in the Catholic Church or the Sandusky case, often those children are ignored and dismissed. And that children in both those cases were from poor and/or minority class homes adds to the dilemma. So it becomes very much another case of mob justice and revenge and retaliation. The film does an outstanding job of demonstrating just how the process begins and the end results.
So it may explain why zero tolerance came to be. I see many Teachers and more often Substitutes simply defer and do little when it comes to discipline and what that in turn leads to overall classroom management and instruction. If you are afraid for your job can you do your job? You either shut up or SWAT up.
So take that into account why the Police go ape shit bat shit when it comes to most any resolution. Shoot, kill and ask no questions. Defend, deny and when all else fails obfuscate and lie. This is our new way of resolution and restitution.
And then we add my other favorite of the industrial complexes - the Medical one. This family finds itself in the hands of all of the above when a Hospital decided that the parent care was insufficient to the medical lack of care they were offering.
I know first hand the danger of the goon squad of the Hospital Social Worker. They are NOT there to help you in anyway. Their primary role is to secure the Hospital and indemnify it from potential litigation and financial problems.
I met a woman who had suffered Traumatic Brain Injury at the hands of her partner, she ended up having secondary trauma when a blood clot formed requiring her to go back to Harborview, home the incompetent. Post surgery left her more ill than prior and she lost her job, her business and was on the verge of losing her home. The fantastic crackerjack goon squad of Harborview referred her to the faux TBI institute, a group formed by personal injury lawyers to get access to an ambulance full of willing prey. Don't have to chase it when it is handed to you. Harborview willingly gives this fake non profit all incoming records of those diagnosed with TBI and tells them that they will help you. Their help is non existent. They do nothing that the Social Workers are supposed to and should do, but don't.
Truly there are amazing non profit groups in many cities that work with TBI victims and family, the one in Seattle does not. They are utter frauds and do NOTHING to help those truly in need. Again proving that you get what you don't pay for and that many non profits are nothing more than fronts.
So read below about the family who is not a family and the secrecy and idiocy that Boston Children's decided to inflict on a family who chose to pursue a course of action that they did not agree. Second opinion was that of the Courts apparently when they took this girl out of the home. Justice? Is there any anymore?
Mom of Sick Connecticut Teen 'Collapses' in Court After Judge Sends Kid to Foster Care
Feb. 25, 2014
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
via WORLD NEWS
Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teenager who has spent the last year in state custody in a case that has pitted Boston's top doctors against a family who claims their daughter is being medically mistreated, will go into foster care, a court has ruled.
In a two-hour closed door hearing on Monday, Justina's mother "collapsed" and was taken to a local hospital and her father "shouted in anger" when they were told by a Department of Family and Children's judge continued to deny the family custody of their 15-year-old, according to the Boston Globe.
Lou and Linda Pelletier, of West Hartford, Conn., have been fighting for their daughter who they say has mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body.
Boston Children's Hospital reported the Pelletier's to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families for suspected child abuse in February 2013. She was confined to its psychiatric unit for treatment for a somatoform disorder for nearly a year before being moved to a residential facility for mental health treatment, according to the family.
"We are just so stressed out," Lou Pelletier, a financial planner and father of three daughters, told ABCNews.com today. "What they put us through yesterday crossed so many lines. My wife has been at the breaking point."
Family court Judge Joseph Johnston has sent Justina to Shared Living Collaborative in Merrimac, a non-medical facility run by the state, according to the family.
The family said they had brought in additional First Amendment lawyers who are opposing a gag order placed on all involved in the case and say they hope to bring Justina home. The custody case has dragged on since last fall and was continued until March 24.
"The court really didn't accomplish much," said Mathew Staves of Liberty Counsel , a conservative organization that advocates for "religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family,” who was at hearing.
"She is not doing very well," said Staves. "Linda saw her on Friday … and there were five DCF workers present. There is no private time and she is not allowed to take cell phone photos of her daughter. ... She had red marks on her abdomen and she was very week. It's now the third semester of school since February 2013, and they haven't given her any education, she can't attend church. It's unbelievable."
"If she had somatoform disorder, then her condition would have improved," he said. "She's not gotten any better."
Pelletier had already broken an Essex County family court judge's gag order with ABCNews.com earlier this month, saying, "I have got to save my daughter's life."
Justina was a seemingly healthy teenager performing jumps and spirals at a skating show, then six weeks later, on Feb. 10, 2013, she was in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Boston after a severe bout with the flu, refusing to eat and barely able to walk, according to her family.
A team of doctors at Boston Children's said her symptoms were psychosomatic, according to the family. The hospital then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, as required by law, because they suspected the parents of child abuse for subjecting they laid out a treatment plan for Justina, which her parents refused to sign, and on Feb. 14, 2013, when they attempted to check their daughter out of Boston Children's to take her back to Tufts to resume medical treatment, the family said they were told by Boston Children's that they could not discharge Justina.
"We didn't even get a chance to say goodbye," Pelletier said.
Justina was diagnosed with somatoform pain disorder, a psychiatric condition when a person experiences physical pain for which no known medical explanation can be found, according to her family. The case highlights a growing concern among those with rare diseases and autoimmune disorders that physical symptoms that cannot be explained will be dismissed by doctors as psychosomatic.
Lou Pelletier said he and his wife have been only allowed to see their daughter on one-hour weekly supervised visits, first while she was in therapy at Boston Children's psychiatric ward Bader 5, then at a residential treatment center in Framingham, Mass. They say her condition has deteriorated because the hospital has stopped all medical treatment for mitochondrial disease.
The case has enraged advocates for children with mitochondrial disease.
"We feel deeply saddened for Justina and her family today," said Cristy Balcells, executive director of MitoAction. "This is an injustice to the rare disease patient community and to the dedicated and valiant physicians who do the right thing in caring for these patients. Mitochondrial disease is a very complicated illness with complex multi-system problems to treat so we are gravely concerned that Justina's medical needs are not being attended to, and we are concerned that her health will continue to decline without proper medical care."
The Pelletiers reached out to MitoAction for help last year, said Balcells, and they have been speaking on their behalf and providing support.
"We would have expected this to have been wrapped up in December," she told ABCNews.com. "We are truly dismayed that this continues to be prolonged. Justina has lost a year of her life living in an institution without people who care for her – no friends and family, nothing that a typical 15-year-old would have. It's been drawn out because of a political battle and it's not good for the child."
Mitochondrial disease affects the body's ability to make energy, according to Dr. Richard Boles, medical director of Courtagen Life Sciences, a genetic testing company in Massachusetts, and a practicing physician in Los Angeles.
"The symptoms can affect any part of the body," said Boles, who did not treat Justina. "It can cause just about anything. People with mitochondrial disease can have diabetes, autism or other types of retardation, seizure disorders or migraine, chronic fatigue or intestinal failure."
"People with mitochondrial disease have a lot of pain," he told ABCNews.com earlier this month. "Normal sensations are amplified by the nervous system. They are not making it up. The idea of somatoform is you are making it up to serve some need. But they are having real pain."
Dr. Mark Korson, chief of metabolism at Tufts, has been an advocate for Justina, according to the family, who say they worry lack of proper medical care could be fatal for their daughter.
When ABCNews.com called Korson and Tufts Medical Center for comment, they declined, citing patient confidentiality.
Boston Children's Hospital said in a prepared statement to ABCNews.com earlier this month that they "acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff in caring for this patient. We are proud of their work and positive impact on the patient."
But the Coalition for Diagnostic Rights, which has also worked closely with the Pelletiers, is critical of the hospital and has called on the DCF to resume medical care for Justina.
"This case could not have developed had it not been for flagrant violations of patients' rights when Justina and her parents arrived at Boston children's Hospital a year ago," said spokeswoman Bridget Mildon. "We continue to demand that these violations be remedied by allowing the parents' original doctor of choice to determine what's in the child's best interests, and to advise the court in that capacity."
Pelletier said he and his wife have been only allowed to see their daughter on one-hour weekly supervised visits. They say her condition has deteriorated because the hospital has stopped all medical treatment for mitochondrial disease.
"She is going off a cliff," Pelletier said of his daughter, who is now confined to a wheelchair. "She looks awful and is pale and her hair is falling out. Her gums are receding and she has no body strength."
"The system has failed," said Justina's father Pelletier. "I am battling the medical world that thinks it knows everything."
And yet Obama took office at a time of tidal shifts. The economics of imprisonment, the ebbing of crime rates, the horror stories of overcrowded penitentiaries and the persistent activism of reform advocates had begun to generate a public consensus that merely caging people is not a crime-fighting strategy. Fiscal conservatives alarmed at the high cost of incarceration, evangelicals shocked by the waste of lives, and libertarians who spotted another realm of government power abused have clambered onto what was once a liberal bandwagon. (How much those conservatives will be willing to invest in alternative ways of protecting the public — drug treatment, more intensive parole and probation programs, job training and so on — is another question.)
In his first term Obama did not make this a signature issue; he rarely mentioned the subject. But his proxy, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., was outspoken from the start. Six months into the first term, he was already at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York talking about the social costs of mass incarceration and pressing for policies that would divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and ease the re-entry of former prisoners into a productive life. In the last five years, Holder has become increasingly bold, and encountered little backlash. This month he exhorted states to repeal policies that deny felons the right to vote, policies that disenfranchise 5.8 million Americans, including nearly one in 13 African-American adults. He framed it not just as an act of compassion but as a way of re-engaging prodigal souls.
“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said.
“All that sounds very good,” said Michelle Alexander, the legal scholar who wrote “The New Jim Crow,” a scorching 2010 indictment of the racialized war on drugs. ”And it is good, because for decades the rhetoric was running in the other direction. But if the rhetoric is not matched with action ... then it is fair to wonder whether the shift in rhetoric reflects significant shifts in public opinion in recent years, rather than a real commitment to these issues and a willingness to take political risks.
By the crudest metric, the population of our prisons, the Obama administration has been unimpressive. The famously shocking numbers of Americans behind bars (the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s people, incarcerates nearly a quarter of all prisoners on earth) have declined three years in a row. However the overall downsizing is largely thanks to California and a handful of other states. In overstuffed federal prisons, the population continues to grow, fed in no small part by Obama’s crackdown on immigration violators.
The administration has some achievements to tout. Obama signed the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, and has put some muscle behind the Smarter Sentencing Act, two measures aimed at making drug-sentencing laws less absurd. Holder has issued guidance to prosecutors to avoid routinely seeking maximum sentences for low-level offenders — though it’s not clear yet whether prosecutors are going along. The administration created an Interagency Reentry Council that uses federal guidance to whittle away at the barriers to employment, housing and education so that released prisoners have some hope of becoming productive citizens.
At the same time, long after the War on Drugs has been recognized as a failure, there has been little serious effort to cut the number of federal drug prosecutions, or to shift money from incarceration to drug treatment. Alexander cites as a significant disappointment the continued federal reluctance to decriminalize marijuana, despite Obama’s acknowledgment to David Remnick of The New Yorker that pot is less harmful than alcohol and that the laws are mostly enforced against poor minorities. Another missed opportunity: he could have pushed more aggressively to fill district and circuit court vacancies with judges who would buck the status quo.
Obama has also been the stingiest of recent presidents in using his powers of pardon and commutation to undo the damage of the crack panic and of sentencing that keeps prisoners in lockup long past the age when they represent a danger. Marc Levin, director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank with a justice reform agenda, points out that in his first term Obama pardoned one in 50 applicants while Ronald Reagan pardoned one in three. Late last year Obama commuted the sentences of eight drug offenders, out of more than 8,000 federal convicts serving time under outdated crack laws.
Obama is, we know, a cautious man, leery of getting ahead of public opinion and therefore sometimes far behind it. And some reform advocates argue that it made sense for Obama to keep a low profile until a broad bipartisan consensus had gathered. That time has come. Now that Obama-scorners like Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and even Ted Cruz are slicing off pieces of justice reform for their issue portfolios, now that red states like Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky have embraced alternatives to prison, criminal justice is one of those rare areas where there is common ground to be explored and tested.
The Obama presidency has almost three years to go, and there is reason to hope that he will feel less constrained, that the eight commutations were not just a pittance but, as he put it, “a first step,” that Holder’s mounting enthusiasm for saner sentencing is not just talk, but prelude, that the president will use his great pulpit to prick our conscience.
“This is something that matters to the president,” Holder assured me last week. “This is, I think, going to be seen as a defining legacy for this administration.”
I’ll be watching, and hoping that Holder’s prediction is more than wishful thinking.
So who is the criminal?