Friday, June 10, 2016

The Crisis Continues...

Charging documents accusing a 36-year-old woman of killing her toddler at her parents' home near Sammamish indicate she has a history of mental illness, suicide attempts and expressing a desire to get rid of her baby before the 15-month-old boy was found dead on Saturday.
Prosecutors charged Tami Christianson with second-degree murder on Wednesday for the death of her son, Brody Bass. She remains held in King County Jail on $1 million bail.
Christianson, a Spokane resident, "poses a clear danger to herself and others" and exhibited "warning signs that were ignored" before her son's death, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Hugh J. Barber wrote in court documents.
She reportedly was spotted last month standing on the ledge of a Bellevue skybridge, appearing ready to jump, Barber wrote. She was involuntarily committed to Fairfax Behavioral Health in Kirkland and released with several medications to take, reports say.
She has also reportedly told Brody's father and her fiance, "I'm just going to kill that little f**ker," referring to her baby when he was about two months old. The father reported this incident to Spokane police, who determined "everything was OK," according to court records.
6/8/16 Baltimore Sun:
Dozens of mentally ill men and women who have been charged with crimes are languishing in jails across Maryland despite court orders to send them to state hospitals for evaluation and treatment.
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which spurned a consultant's warning four years ago, does not have enough beds or staff to treat new patients, officials say. The shortage comes as 80 percent of those admitted to such facilities are arriving via the criminal justice system.
Union officials blame the shortages on what they call the state's cost-saving policy of pushing care of the mentally ill into the private sector.
The state's psychiatric inpatient capacity declined from about 3,000 beds in the 1980s to about 960 now, a squeeze the state's top health official calls a crisis....
The shortages affect people such as Fredia Laverne Powell.
Powell, charged with second-degree attempted murder and other offenses, was brought before Baltimore Circuit Judge Gale E. Rasin in shackles.
Appearing disheveled in an ill-fitting, jail-issue pink jumpsuit, the 62-year-old woman launched into an angry tirade against the judge and court officials.
"I am the inspector general," she declared before trailing off into incoherence. 

For those who want to blame heartless Republicans:
Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat who serves as vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said none of the judges she knows wants to release a potentially dangerous person.
"They're very much in a box and very frustrated," she said. 
Dumais said she has been watching the problem grow since she was elected to the General Assembly in 2002. She said Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has not done much to solve the problem, but neither did his predecessor, Democrat Martin O'Malley, or the previous Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
The state hired the CannonDesign consulting group about five years ago to study the system's needs. In a 2012 report, the group noted severe deficiencies and recommended that the state add at least 216 mental health hospital beds.
O'Malley administration Health Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein rejected the recommendation in a 2012 letter to the legislature's budget chairmen. He said it would be "premature to undertake the substantial expense of building a new facility."

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