Human Rights & The Mentally Ill
In mid-May 2014, I came forward in a Miami Herald article entitled, Former workers describe 'chronic' torture. As far as I know, I'm the only mental health professional who has openly spoken about the rampant brutality within the Florida Department of Corrections.
Since the Herald story broke, I've become a full-time human rights activist and mental health advocate. Sadly, mental illness has become a crime punishable by death and imprisonment. For lack of funding, state and community mental health facilities have shut down resulting in the mentally ill being swept up into the criminal justice system.
Your funding will greatly assist in my efforts to make a difference for the men and women who have no voice.
My strategy is two-fold:
1) Continue my efforts to increase public awareness of prison brutality in the Florida Department of Corrections. I've worked hard to get the message out in Florida and want to take it to the national level. My activism has included: Presenting before the Criminal Justice Committee in Tallahassee. Appearing on TV and Radio shows. Giving interviews to reporters - the Miami Herald has published over 70 articles covering abuses, corruption, and murder in prisons throughout Florida.
2) Promote my book through book tours, radio and TV appearances, speaking engagements, and lectures to students in Criminal Justice Programs and Law Schools. I plan to hire a publicist to help me promote my book as well as scheduling book signing events. I have been interviewed by a journalist for The NewYorker Magazine. The article is scheduled for a fall issue.
I'm very active and dedicated to change. My typical week, which often spills over into the weekend, has me speaking to legislators, counseling people with loved ones on the inside, updating my website, networking, and writing essays and blogs. I recently spoke to new DOC Secretary Julie Jones. That's the short list!
I'm currently mobilizing a grass-roots effort to convince Florida lawmakers to adopt the strongest possible prison reform bill to combat a cancerous culture of secrecy, brutality, and retaliation that is at the core of the FL DOC. For more info: Florida House of Representatives has gutted Florida Senate Prison Reform Bill 7020 - A Call to Action - Please Help!!!
Thank you for your consideration,
A shocking new exposé in The New Yorker magazine documents how prison guards at the Dade Correctional Institution in Florida have subjected mentally ill prisoners to vicious beatings, scalding showers and severe food deprivation. Journalist Eyal Press notes the guards act with near impunity since prison staff, including mental health workers, often fear reprisals for speaking out. He writes that prisons have become America's dominant mental health institutions. The situation is particularly extreme in Florida, which spends less money per capita on mental health than any state with the exception of Idaho. We speak with Eyal Press and one of his sources, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist and whistleblower who lost his job after reporting on abuse of his patients in the Dade Correctional Institution's Transitional Care Unit in 2011.
Read the New Yorker magazine article on my website: http://www.georgemallinckrodt.com/
I want to thank everyone who donated to help me avoid foreclosure on my home. Unfortunately, I'm learning how the game is played here in Florida and it's not pretty. With your generous donations, I was able to pay off the maintenance and thought that I could negotiate with collections attorneys what I owed them. I came to find out that Florida law allows attorneys to collect their fees first and so my maintenance check went directly to them instead of my condo association.
So for the crime of being a dedicated full-time human rights activist who needed some more time to pay down what I owed, I am being financially punished to the tune of $5,283.79, (See below). Ironically, had these bill collector attorneys not ever been involved, I would be completely paid up and focused on my human rights activities. Instead I am in desperate straights once again. Nevertheless, I manage to keep trying to make a difference.
It goes without saying I need your help to stave off a Summary Judgment, foreclosure, and homelessness. Please donate whatever your heart tells you and pass this on.
This is what the bill collector attorneys sent to my pro bono attorney who graciously offered to help me out:
Attached hereto please find the updated ledger through 3/1/16. As previously discussed all payments made have been applied to the account and applied pursuant to statute “applied first to any interest accrued by the association, then to any administrative late fee, then to any costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in collection, and then to the delinquent assessments.”
Please review and let me know if you have questions. Should I not hear back from you by close of business on Friday, February 26, 2016 we will proceed with updating the affidavits and proceeding with our Motion for Summary Judgment.
Christyne D. Santisteban, Esq.
Law Offices of Mirza, Basulto & Robbins, LLP
14160 NW 77th Court Suite 22
Miami Lakes, Florida 33016
Phone No.: 305-722-8900- ext 3386
Fax No.: 305-722-8901
As such here is the breakdown of what is paid and what remains due and owing:
Human Rights Activist Faces Foreclosure - Part Three
I'd like to thank all those who have made generous donations to my campaign from around the country and even Europe. Your support allows me to focus on prison reform, the humane treatment of the severely mentally ill, and enacting legislation to fund badly needed safety nets for our children and young adults—the source and supply of all severely mentally ill men and women who find themselves ensnared in a justice system that criminalizes mental illness.
Some of my friends have been telling me the goals I set for my campaign are too lofty—to the detriment of my financial and emotional well-being. One said, "You need to be selfish, put yourself ahead of the strangers you're trying to help." Another said, "No one cares about this issue, you need to worry about yourself first." My ex-girlfriend thought I was mentally ill given my single minded devotion to the cause—she just might be right!
Oh ye of little faith? I will admit my well meaning friends have a point. Is it too much to ask that I carry on this work with your generous assistance? Not that it slowed me down at all, but I just got word that I was not a finalist for a Justice Fellowship grant by a foundation funded by George Soros. Next! Onward and upward as far as I'm concerned.
If it were up to me (or a genie granting me a wish), I would have enough funding so that I wouldn't have to worry about paying my maintenance on time or other financial concerns. I want to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children who suffer from mental illness. To do that I need funding beyond the short-term situation I'm going through. Traveling to speak with lawmakers about prison reform and funding mental health initiatives is costly.
Mental illness is a major national health concern. The AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY puts annual loss to earnings conservatively at 193 billion. Associated costs push the figure to 317 billion—this from a report dated June 2008! No doubt the figures are considerably higher now. It is my opinion that programs of early intervention starting in our school systems are essential to provide mental health services to those most likely to benefit. Besides substantially more positive treatment outcomes, the increase in our country's overall mental health outlook would have untold benefits to the US economy.
I managed to get a continuance until February 18th for Civil Division Case No: 2015-024067 CA 01, West Court Condominium vs. George C. Mallinckrodt. It is hard to imagine that it's come to this. My dedication to human rights may well end in foreclosure and sale of my home on the courthouse steps. No good deed goes unpunished I suppose. I'm feeling discouraged as I'm writing this but somewhere I know that everything will work out one way or another. I would've liked to have traveled to Tallahassee last week to speak to lawmakers about prison reform but I didn't have the funds.
Please check out my blog concerning the "accidental death" ruling by the Miami Medical Examiner regarding the murder of Darren Rainey. When agencies outside the FL DOC issue questionable rulings, it makes one wonder if "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
I fully support your efforts to raise consciousness of prison and police brutality including reckless homicide and 1st degree murder as well as psychological abuse of this population who are completely helpless in the hands of their torturers. I also write about this on various blogs. I am interested to see your proposed budget for the use of $100,000. I am woefully uninformed about what it takes to be a full-time campaigner. I'm prepared to make a donation, but like any responsible donor, I need to see the numbers. I don't intend to be obnoxious here, merely informed. Looking forward!