AZ Media Programs on Releasing Mentally Ill Prisoners

acollier-article10Frontline:The Released schedule for Tucson channel 6 PBS

Each year, hundreds of thousands of prisoners with serious mental illnesses will be released into communities across America, the largest exodus in the nation’s history. Typically, mentally ill offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 and two weeks worth of medication. Within 18 months, nearly two-thirds are re-arrested. In this follow up to the film “The New Asylums,” FRONTLINE examines what happens to the mentally ill when they leave prison and why they return at such alarming rates. The stories of the released — along with interviews with parole officers, social workers, and psychiatrists — provide a rare look at the lives of the mentally ill as they struggle to stay out of prison and reintegrate into society.

Credit: Arizona Public Media Schedule
When to Watch

* 12/7/2010 10 p.m. on PBS HD
* 12/8/2010 3 a.m. on PBS HD
* 12/10/2010 7 p.m. on PBS World

Good Mansion Alternative

acollier-article9Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have formed the famous Gates Foundation
as a way to help those in critical need. The Gates Foundation has asked the public
to submit ideas/dreams for them to consider in their mission to help solve society’s problems.

So, I have submitted the following idea, which we call the “Good Mansion”,
since disabled adults can afford to live in a real mansion by pooling their money,
and then also can hire full time nursing, part time doctors, and other staff.

From my letter to :


We heard that you wanted to hear some good ideas.

See our article on what is wrong with Group Homes now.

The Answer
We would like to see the mentally ill now living in very small Group Homes,
pool their Social Security Disability (SSA, SSI) monthly checks into having larger homes of 50-100 people where their monthly checks combine to get them full time nursing, doctors/dentists visits weekly, and much better living conditions.

The disabled mentally ill, when stabilized on their medicines are released
into the community to these unlicensed group homes, serving maybe 4-8 people
in each home, and making a profit for the landlords.

Unfortunately, when these patients, who get around $674 per month maximum,
pool their money, they could get much better results than the problems
found in the report we wrote for quoted above .

1. 674/month times 100 people = $67,400.00 per month available for living.
2. 674/month times 50 people = $33,700.00 per month available for living.

So there is plenty of money to obtain a great standard of living
and reduce how many mentally ill people wind up in prison, costing
us all, when they wander away from the groups homes now, due to very poor conditions.

Please consider this idea to help these poor people, just by pooling their own money and
living in larger homes etc. with better staff, adequate food, and a decent life.

Someone just needs to organize this by obtaining/cosigning for the buildings, hiring the staff, and
these disabled people will come, they are all very unhappy with the current situation, as reported in my article.

Thanks for your time.

———— end of letter to Gates Foundation, sent 11-20-2010 ——————

Please spread the word to pray for this dream plan to move forward,
here is a list of benefits that could be obtained through this program called the

Good Mansion:

1. Reduced need for prison space for the mentally disabled.

2. New jobs for the public ! The Good Mansions will need management, nursing, and other staff.

3. Improved living conditions and improved benefits for the recipients of tax dollars for the disabled. The money is better spent as intended, with less going to third party landlords.

4. A solution for families that want long term safety for their loved ones, especially after the families are no longer alive or well enough to care for their disabled family members and friends.

5. Improve public safety by replacing unlicensed group homes with a secure place where the mentally disabled are not allowed to wander off into the community without supervision, as they do now, causing danger to self and to others.

6. Opportunity for researchers to study or live in this situation for identifying what works, social benefits and cures.

Scope Ripoff

Three people have been indicted for defrauding over 750 elderly and disabled Tucson people while operating a representative payee business; they are also accused of embezzling money from the accounts of the recently deceased.

The Attorney General’s Office says Robert Lee Skaggs, 57, Jo Ann Skaggs, 53, and Ray T. Skaggs, 41 have been charged with Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, theft and Embezzlement of Social Security Funds by a federal grand jury in Tucson.

The indictment alleges that the Robert Lee Skaggs was the owner of Scope Payee Services, which misused over $5 million of beneficiary funds and created a variety of false documents to hide the misuse. Jo Ann Skaggs and Ray T. Skaggs allegedly worked as payee coordinators.

The Attorney General’s Office also accuses the three of embezzling money from accounts of people who died while Scope was their representative payee.

“Over 750 elderly and disabled people relied upon the business operated by the Defendants to act as their representative payee, to hold their money in trust,” says United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “The alleged misuse of these funds resulted in losses of over 1.3 million dollars from people who were among the most vulnerable in our society.”

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The three are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Nov. 5.

Source:, Tucson Channel 4, NBC Television Affiliate

Credit to: Arizona Daily Star who first broke this story.

Social security recipients are now in big trouble. One mentally ill person owes over $1200 to Cox cable since Scope did not pay his bills. Will these companies step up and help ?

Downs Study at U of AZ

nee-acdcDown syndrome study in Tucson at University of AZ
The Psychology Department at the University of Arizona is looking for volunteers on a study on Down Syndrome. Participants will be compensated for their time. If your child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome and is between 7 and 18 years of age, and you would like to obtain more information about the study, please contact us at 520-626-0244 or write us an email at

Group Homes in Tucson


It is a shame what is going on with Tucson’s so called “unlicensed Group Homes”.

Some homes are much better than others, thanks to those who care.

Try to avoid the others who don’t care !

Here is the list of what we found wrong in the 2008-2010 timeframe:

1.    Not clean, unsanitary conditions. Even dishes for eating are not clean. The patients are required
to clean up, which is usually not good enough, even when they try hard. They are mentally ill !

2.    Not fed enough. Even though they say 3 meals a day, not true ! Patients buy their own food
to eat enough.

3.    Rent is too high, usually $500-525 per month for room and board. The maximum income these patients have is $674 on Social security disability, many get even less to live on. No one advocates to get them their full amount, which is sometimes denied at the initial SSI process.

4.    No hot water !

5.    No toilet paper or napkins.

6.    Coed homes, where improper behavior between patients happens, even though against the rules.

7.    24 hour supervision is promised, but doesn’t always happen. These patients can have a psychotic relapse, and so must be monitored, and safety must be maintained for all the patients at the group home in event of problems.

8.    Patients are largely ignored, their needs are not met as human beings. No one checks on them
at least weekly, in order to make appointments for their medical and dental needs. No one asks
them if they need something, which they could get with their own money, eg. toiletries, deodorant, etc.

9.    No published rules. Verbal rules are ignored. Safety is reduced.

10.    Stealing is going on from mentally disabled, cigs, clothes, food, personals. Walmart sells lock boxes and a couple locks for around $20. It’s worth it.

11.    Paroled drug offenders (street people) are being housed with the mentally ill patients, and are taking advantage of them, “borrowing money” and other stealing.

12.    Alcoholic beverages sometimes are given to the mentally ill.

13.    Good living skills are not taught. Bad living skills are not always dealt with.

14.    The mentally challenged are being made fun of.

15.    The patients are threatened, in order to get money, meds, clothing, and personal items. Or they are just taken from them in a confrontational bullying style.

16.    Sheets, pillows, and blankets were not available for the beds, only bed covers.

17.    No rides provided. No assistance to get a ride provided.

18.    Some doctors and nurses don’t know enough about mentally disabled patients, so they are of minimal or no help for these patients who have trouble communicating. No one helps them to write down their needs, or be there for support, to get the help needed. Group home supervision is completely absent for these needs, or to even call someone for assistance.
When a patient relapses into psychosis (DANGER), some group homes take no action to call SAMHC at 520-622-6000 for help to get the patient into emergency free treatment.

19.    CPSA group home grievance procedures are a joke, although they will write warning letters to the homes. Copies of notes of verbal reports were not provided. Sexual abuse report ignored. Police reports of hospital abuse were ignored. All these were ignored by the CEO.

20.     Safety of patients not handled well by case management, with some exceptions. So don’t count on them to help with group home conditions.

21. Bed bugs !

Finally, these mentally disabled patients could use a Buddy, you ! Contact Tucson NAMI at 520-622-5582 to join their buddy program to check on these people, at least once per week for a phone call, and maybe a monthly in-person visit.

The mentally disabled need your help ! The above conditions are happening to them now. It’s discouraging to their spirits, and reduces effectiveness of treatment. The impact to society comes when they just give up, and stop taking their meds, and become a danger to self or others. Then they become at risk for going to prison. Our prisons have many mentally ill brothers and sisters there who may not have been dangerous if only they stayed on their meds (medicines). Please, let’s care more for each other, we need it !

Mental Illness Awareness Issues for 2010

nee-pix3-dreamchildLast year we posted some goals in an article on Mental health awareness and related TV programs.

In the Tucson area, improved conditions have caused us to revise the top issues list, so here it is.

Top Mental Illness Awareness areas for 2010:

1. Unlicensed group living homes improvements. Dealing with Group homes has improved this past year. This was a HUGE set of issues. Thanks to those out there that showed they care !  Most of adult mentally ill and rehab people live in this setting after release to the Tucson metro area.
2. CPSA Oversight progress, memos can be generated on request,  to unlicensed group homes, etc.
3. Therapy, especially to develop ongoing goals. Therapy, even for court ordered patients is still optional ! Request it from case management.
4. NAMI Buddy program, get people involved. Any adult can volunteer to check on a buddy preferably at least weekly phone call and a monthly visit, to insure they are OK. Act to surface issues on their behalf to case management, or SAMHC crisis line.
5. Food boxes, clothing distribution. They do need help getting things, clothing is available through Casa Maria, and churches.
6. Free Dental options (UMC Dental School, free exams/xrays specials at local dental offices).
7. Safety at facilities, especially transitions during active psychoses, and for all court ordered treatment.
8. Using grievance processes available.
9. Thinking Big, mega group home concept development. Pool resources to be able to have full time staff, dr, nurse, 24 x 7 therapy. Prevents the problems that land mentally ill people into prison when psychotic. The meds need tweaking periodically, someone has to pay attention ! This would provide an alternative to the unlicensed group homes.
10. Cost effectiveness, adult mental health vs. prisons expansion – Funding of prisons is much more costly than funding housing and therapy programs. We need to help these human beings before they wind up in trouble. A man was found this week naked after killing a young police officer in Phoenix, we need to prevent this now !
11. Access to medical scheduling and rides assistance. Sometimes as simple as phone call to case management of psychiatric or medical providers/plans. They have case assistance available to help. A buddy just needs to do the initial call, and follow up.
12. Support for case management by friends or family to volunteer as power-of-attorney representatives, and get records access for reviews using a signed medical release form. Be able to act on the patients behalf, especially for emergencies !
13. Medical Living Wills to assure of pain management. Otherwise they suffer when they cannot communicate for themselves.

The 2009 List:
1. Funding of prisons is much more costly than funding housing and therapy programs. We need to help these human beings before they wind up in trouble.
2. Many more caring people are needed for these jobs: case managers, group home managers/couples/teams, drivers, doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.
3. The impact of new medicines is phenomenal, these allow patients to come back to reality, and avoid psychotic acts.
4. Doctors and nurses need to gain awareness of the importance of improving communications with those intimately familiar with the patients, especially family members. Sometimes these poor ones cannot speak for themselves, or are in denial.
5. The need to create care options for mentally ill persons with no family left to look after them.
6. Teachers must be better informed to identify early signs of mental illness, and to stop persecution and stigma.
7. Better understanding of the feelings of mentally ill people is needed. Anyone can send stigma/persecution reports to the Tucson NAMI office.
8. Advocates are needed for reform of the mental health system, especially problem facilities lacking best practices, especially those without policies and procedures.

Now that school is out, please volunteer ! For those that want to do door to door visitations, most local Catholic churches have Legion of Mary chapters that train and equip people to get out and meet those in need. Praying (auxiliary) members are also accepted.

We have noted college students at Mt Saint Mary’s University are volunteering this way, as well as students in other states, go get ’em guys !

– learning classes
– ask for suggestions.
– procedures for the homes to avoid food poisoning, periodic cleaning, inspections, house rules, how-to’s eg. get help

Causes of childhood death that you can prevent and the warning signs


The following are preventable causes of death, let’s all do our part to watch for warning signs that we must act:

1. Suicide. warning signs are here.

2. Mental illness: becoming a danger to self or to others, warning signs and how to cope is here. There are reports that too much time on computer games was a factor in schizophrenia illness (hearing voices from the game).

3. Overdose – Some doctor’s offices are equipped to handle non-life-threatening cases of overdose, but in an emergency, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 9-1-1.
Warning signs are here.
Interventions PDF document download here.

4. Alcohol Overdose – warning signs are here.

5. Child Abuse, warning signs are here. Relatives take note !

6. Negligent caregivers – Inspect your loved ones care facility and know the caregivers. warning signs are here.

Alert: Planned Parenthood has not denied that their employees do not report statutory rapes to police. They have also confirmed they use nurse practitioners to perform abortions.

7. Depression (which can kill slowly). warning signs are here.

To get help, or for more information, call:

NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness Free and Anonymous Advice, Toll free: (800)626-5022
SAMHC in Tucson – Free, caring and anonymous advice and help ! Call 520-622-6000

Free mental illness awareness activities available in Tucson


The following activities are available to everyone to help with mental illness support and awareness:

1. Reaching multicultural faith communities during Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) Oct. 4-10 Mental Illness Awareness Week is a public awareness and education campaign across the country. Learn how NAMI in San Antonio will engage multicultural faith communities during MIAW week.

2. National Day of Prayer Oct. 6
Tuesday, Oct. 6 has been designated as a day of prayer for mental illness recovery and understanding.

The NAMI FaithNet web site offers a variety of resources that can be used as part of outreach efforts, including bulletin inserts, prayers, liturgies and an interfaith candle lighting service. Additional resources in English and Spanish are available at the mental health ministries web site.

3. National Depression Screening Day Oct. 8
Thursday, on national depression screening day, screenings will be sponsored by hospitals, mental health centers, primary care clinics, social service agencies and some faith communities, among other places.

It is important to inform everyone about free local screenings because they are often the first step anyone can take to get help. Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that affects adults and children. Treatment can help most people, but clinical depression can trick people into suicidal acts if left untreated. Meth abuse is causing our loved ones to become depressed, leading to low self-worth, lack of happiness in their lives, and feeling damaged. In 2009, no one needs to live without hope !

For anonymous help, contact the national depression screening project office at (781) 239-0071.

NAMI is a local and national grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Dr. Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203

Toll free: (800)626-5022

Source: NAMI FaithNet Newsletter: October 2009
The NAMI FaithNet Newsletter is an electronic newsletter provided free of charge as a public service.


nee-pix7During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall – she assured
everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) …..she said
she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared
a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken
to the hospital – (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke
at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps
Ingrid would be with us today. Some don’t die…. they end up in a helpless,
hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this…

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he
can totally reverse the effects of a stroke… totally . He said the trick
was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient
medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the ‘3’ steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the
lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain
damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke .

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)

(i.e. It is sunny out today)

R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS..

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911
immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his
tongue.. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other ,
that is also an indication of a stroke.

Getting Help Fast (when something is very wrong)


Getting Help Fast (when something is very wrong), 9/10/2009

SAMHC is the local Tucson, Arizona (and regional) organization that can physically get help now for your loved one who is hurting with a possible mental illness. They will come when you call, with a response team of professionals, and will even bring the police if its necessary to get the help your child needs. What sort of behavior is handled by SAMHC ? Any behavior that is a danger to self or to others. Wow, what a heart break it is, just to deal with all of this. Just stop, take a deep breath, call 520-622-6000 and discuss what’s going on with these “24 hours per day, and 7 days per week” caring people. Or, you can get the police on your own, to take your loved one to any hospital emergency room and request an evaluation to determine mental fitness, and protect your loved one. When there is danger to themselves or to others, we must act quickly. We know how it can be when no one notices these issues except the family, so document and note the strange behavior ! Many have ignored these cries for help. A close friend was injured badly just wandering into the road, getting hit by a car. Lets remember that “love converts hearts and gives peace”, and so please treat everyone involved with patience. They don’t usually understand at all what you are dealing with. Read posted articles here to find out how to “deal with the system”, get needed help and remove your loved one from danger when mentally ill.