The question of whether we "understand the nature and consequences of our actions" has always fascinated me because I don't think it is a simple question and I think there are many layers to understanding everything --- including our own actions.
So when I was meeting with my guy in the Denver Detention Center, I mentioned that I had tried to enlist the help of the State on Administrative Segregation in County Jails and really hadn't gotten anywhere.
I surmised that the people I was trying to influence didn't really have the authority to help me.
My guy shot back, "They Know What They Doin. You don't get those jobs unless you know what's going on."
From my standpoint, the State presents a very complicated mixed bag of good intentions and overly self-protective tendencies that often get the better of it, leading it to violate the rights of vulnerable people:
The Death of Christopher Lopez in Administrative Segregation. Prior to announcing the death, the State comes out with the most bold forward thinking policy in the nation to end administrative segregation of inmates with mental illness in prisons -- we cheered. Then we learned the sorry story of how the Lopez family had been treated as well as the Colorado public -- and felt duped. It's still a fantastic policy AND the State has to get a lot more honest & straightforward & quicker.
Colorado's Community Living Plan/Olmstead Plan
Colorado really did work hard on this, and while it
has some pretty obvious flaws such as excluding
people in the criminal justice system, I really did
not think it was going to turn into the nightmare
that it did. AND when I say that I don't just mean
that I wasn't on the same page with the State -- I
mean the State violated Attorney Rules of
Professional Conduct and took Frivolous Positions such as for over a year they refused to have a Substantive Discussion on the Olmstead Allegations. When I threatened to go to the media, I did get a conversation with HCPF Executive Director Gretchen Hammer who I think did want to try to help. AND she was going to see what the State could do on Housing & ACT. Well, I never heard back on Housing & what I got from the Assistant Attorney General on Assertive Community Treatment is what we are currently doing.
As for working, with Stakeholder groups -- I never heard back after I advised I wanted to present on these Olmstead issues. There has been a lying problem from the Attorney General's Office on silly stuff, and it's one of the reasons we have had such difficulty in getting to the substance of these Olmstead matters.
P.S. Clarification on Stakeholder Groups: There are probably 2 major incidents regarding stakeholder groups the incident above refers to the 1st incident in which the State had really cut off any further semblance of Olmstead negotiation and referred me to a Stakeholder group.
But the Stakeholder group was not open to me presenting on Olmstead issues, apparently since I never heard back from the staff member in charge of the group when I asked to do that.
The 2nd incident involved requesting the State to meet with members of Black Lives Matter 5280, Sheriffs Depts, Etc., and other Stakeholders on matters of Jail Diversion. Gretchen Hammer, Executive Director of the Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing seemed up for that -- but the Attorney General's Office said there could be no Jail Diversion Stakeholders meeting as long as we pursued our Olmstead Claims in Court.
We are pursuing our Olmstead Claims, etc. in Court, AND hoping someone with the State will put the interests of vulnerable people with mental illness caught in the criminal justice system or homeless FIRST.