Well, I told Mom that I would see her son in the County Jail two weeks ago. I actually just got around to it yesterday. Tom (not his real name) came into the small jail attorney visiting room. I think what I first noticed was how sweet he looked to be charged with such a serious crime. Tom is about 30, he has already had a competency exam down at CMHIP (Colorado Mental Health Institute @ Pueblo) and was found competent. Tom was first hospitalized at "Denver General" in 2000 --- he was about 16. Then around 2004 (maybe) he was hospitalized at Ft. Logan. I asked him if he was hooked up with a community mental health center. He said yes -- MHCD. I asked him how he liked the folks with MHCD. He said they were "really nice" and went " out of their way to help me." I asked him if there was anything that they should have done to help him, he couldn't think of anything AND "they were really nice." Tom has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, takes various medications, and is in solitary confinement. Actually, this is Not going to be another rail against solitary confinement because Tom likes it there, he doesn't want to go back to the general jail population. He is concerned he sleeps a lot. However, during Tom's competency exam he did get to spend a month down at CMHIP and participate in the STEP program. He would like to go back down there. I'll be working to try and make that happen.
From my perspective this bright line we draw between "incompetent", "competent", "sane" or "insane" is arbitrary & capricious. Probably some of you lawyers and jail-house lawyers know what that means -- it means that these grossly imperfect distinctions & categories violate Constitutional protections ensuring due process of the law and equal protection of the law --- in my opinion.