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JULY 21, 2011: Peg's Blogs on Hiatus...

As many friends and regular readers know, I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life, lately, while my workload has continued to grow. Rest assured that I'm in the best of company, and getting by with a little help from my friends. Still, I need to take a break and focus on centering myself. That means this site will be neglected even more than it has been.

Until I'm able to get a grip on blogging regularly and thoughtfully again here (or until someone else steps in to anchor the site), I encourage people to check out Carl Toersbijns' blog (he's a former Deputy Warden for the AZ Department of Corrections, and while not an abolitionist, he's a strong advocate for the prisoners with mental illness, and for broad-based prison reform in AZ). You may also want to drop in on Middle Ground Prison Reform's site for news.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The restoration of Jerry Kulp.

NOTE: I'm cross-posting this from AZ Prison Watch (originally posted 9/23/10) because Jerry was a child tried as an adult, who promptly suicided upon his arrival at the AZ State Prison minors unit in Tucson. This is terribly heartbreaking. I've since heard from his mom, who confirmed my suspicions about his psychiatric disability. - Peggy Plews

I looked and looked this week for memories in the ether from Jerry Kulp's short life. All I could find were his court and ADC papers. Jerry was a 17-year old prisoner on the Minors Unit at ASPC-Tucson last May when he committed suicide.

Jerry hadn't even been in prison a week; he must have just been terrified.
How could anyone on the Minors Unit miss all the signs he must have been broadcasting that he wasn't going to last long inside?

Jerry wasn't a gang member, from what I can tell. He was a seriously mentally ill child. He was given ten years upon pleading guilty to sexual assault, a crime I can't find the details of now. He was up on a number of other charges - armed robbery, kidnapping, etc. He committed them all on one occasion when he was 15.

At the time he was initially charged as an adult, Jerry was so mentally impaired that he required a guardian to make his legal decisions for him, and had to undergo several rounds of competency exams and "restoration treatment" in Joe's Jail over the course of 6-9 months to be fit for trial.

Does anyone else out there find that troubling? There seems to be a pattern here with mentally ill people being inappropriately prosecuted - kept in jail the whole time their trials are being postponed - (as if they already know that they're guilty and doing the time anyway) - while they medicate them into health. Once so restored, they promptly plead guilty and get sent to prison where they end up neglected or assaulted and killed.

I can't believe we prosecuted a mentally incompetent child as an adult, and then threw him into prison, but I guess we do that all the time. That can't possibly be legal. Why was this kid sent to prison instead of to a hospital, anyway? To teach him some kind of lesson? He seems to have suffered plenty enough. To scare the rest of us at his expense? No wonder we're so soul sick.

I'd like to speak to Jerry's friends and family, if you're out there. Some of us are organizing to make sure this doesn't keep happening to people like Jerry and me in Arizona's state prisons. My phone number is 480-580-6807. My email is Peggy Plews.

1 comment:

Mary Lou Brncik said...

This young man's life is so valuable and was just tossed out as nothing. A mentally ill 15 year old should have been hospitalized and treated. Even if the hospitalization lasted 10 years he might have some day had hope for a normal life. Why is Arizona against mental health care for it's citizens. If we had accessible health care this might have been prevented from the start.