This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bear's Trial - Part 1 and SSI question

Got a call today from Bear.  He finally met his attorney (didn't ask him how long before the trial, but he called me after it was over at 11am so it couldn't have been more than a couple of hours at the most).  The attorney said he did get the papers I sent.  So that's good.

He's got another court date set for October 4th.  First there has to be an LSI ,which assesses offender attributes and offender situations relevant for making decisions about levels of supervision and treatment.  The good news is that they are evaluating him.  The bad news is that this semi-structured interview appears to be done by probation officers, parole officers, and correctional workers instead of being a psychological evaluation by a psychologist.  Bear did mention a mental health facility, so maybe they'll be involved.

Bear was told there were three options for him, based on the results from the LSI:

1.  Anna McBride Court - part of a growing national trend to divert nonviolent offenders with mental health problems from jail into treatment. Bear was told if he is eligible then he would be placed in a treatment facility where he can work in the community.

2.  Regimented Inmate Discipline (RID) Program  - aka Boot Camp - a "shock incarceration" or "shock probation" discipline and treatment program.  Bear would be fine in this program, but there are some fundamental questions that have been raised about several aspects of boot camp type programs that very much apply to Bear.

  • Confrontational elements. Sechrest (1989) questions the continued use of confrontation and verbal abuse when the military and juvenile agencies have abandoned the practice. 
  • Military boot camp and prison boot camp have distinctly different purposes (i.e., the purpose of military training is to kill).   Boot camp is a dehumanizing experience, and the question is, how obedience to authority leads to prosocial behavior? 
  •  What happens afterward?  Military boot camp graduates remain in the military... long enough to realize the benefits of their initial experience.") (Sechrest, 1989, p. 19). From another perspective, Feeley and Simon (1992, p. 464) wondered if the "soldier" who graduates from a boot camp will have a "company" to join. They fear that discipline and organization learned in boot camps will be utilized in the distribution of drugs or gang activity. 
3.  Community Sentencing - This means Bear would live and work in the "outside world" while on probation.  He would be paying back any fines and possibly attending technical school classes.  Biggest problem with this is he HAS to stay in Oklahoma, and therefore would need someone there to help and support him.  The only family he has in Oklahoma are the bio Grandfather and an Aunt.  He's done some yard work for the aunt and says she has an old house in her front yard that they're thinking of tearing down.  He thinks he could rent it.

Obviously I'm hoping for the first option.  Don't know what we'll do if he ends up with Community Sentencing.  There's a small possibility if he gets option #3, that we can get him into some kind of residential treatment facility.

I was actually impressed with how much information he retained and was able to relay to me (although he just gave me acronyms and I had to look them up).  The rest of the 15 minute call was all about his latest "Back Up Girl."  *sigh*  I don't really expect him to change, but...


Wanted to answer a comment from another post here:  

r. has left a new comment on your post "Bear's Trial - Prayer request":

"Do you know if Bear's SSI will continue into adulthood? I know of another kid with FASD who had his SSI up for re-evaluation after he became an adult (although there might have been a year or two delay from the time he turned 18 I think, I don't remember). It's a LOT harder to get SSI for mental issues when you're an adult and a lot of times there are multiple appeals involved. If his SSI hasn't already come up for reevaluation, that might be something to look out for in the mail. I'm not sure how one proves one's case from jail though :-/" 
Bear turned 19 in July and has never had SSI.  He was not eligible for SSI as a child, because before age 18 our family income counted against him.  After age 18 he still didn't qualify because our adoption subsidy counted as "income" for him (don't know why!).  The adoption subsidy stopped at age 19 and we planned to apply for SSI then... but he was in jail and they won't pay SSI if your food and housing are being paid for by a third party.  

His benefits coordinator at the MHMR thought he had a very good chance of qualifying for SSI as an adult, but of course we won't know what will happen until he's eligible again and can apply.


Anonymous said...

I thought Bears charges could carry the death penalty? The Anna McBride court is for non violent offenders, why would his sentence carry the death penalty for a non violent crime? I hope I never break the law in Oklahoma....

marythemom said...

I don't understand it either. A first degree felony CAN get the death penalty, although I've heard that is only for murder (which Bear did NOT do!) when I looked it up on the internet (which granted could be wrong) this is what I read - ___________ is a felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections, for a term of not less than five (5) years, life or life without parole.

Someone also told Bear that he shouldn't go to trial or he could get the death penalty. I totally don't understand how he qualifies for this either.

Miz Kizzle said...

A lot depends on whether it was a contact or non-contact offense, the age of the victim(s), and whether the defendant had prior convictions of a similar nature. Extenuating circumstances are taken into consideration. The fact that Bear is young, has a low IQ and mental/emotional problems and was in foster care before being adopted would count in his favor in terms of sentencing, as would any cooperation he could give to the prosecution if there are other defendants involved.

32FlavoursOfHumanity said...

If Bear gets Communuity Sentences, he could apply to have his Parole/Probation transfered to your state citing that he does not have support housing etc- which could increase the likihood of re offending.

marythemom said...

Good question 32 Flavours. I'll look into that.