‘Junk science’ in our courts and coerced drug treatment is a recipe for disaster

The CCDH says the use of forced psychiatric assessments and psychiatric treatment continues to put the community at risk. While psychotropic drugs and treatments are increasingly linked to senseless acts of violence, psychiatry admits its inability to predict dangerousness

CCHR, a mental health industry watchdog, says the use of forced psychiatric assessments and treatment continues to put the community at risk.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA, Sept. 12, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, has examined the disability of psychiatrists examined the failure of psychiatrists to predict violence as part of its investigation of shockingly violent crimes committed by people who were taking or withdrawing psychotropic drugs or who had undergone mental health treatment and hospitalization. In a sample of more than 125 cases documented since the late 1980s, CCHR found numerous cases where psychiatrists assessed and determined that the abuser, who had usually already received treatment, was not a threat to the others, but continued to kill.

If studies show that treatment is more likely to induce violent behavior than to prevent it, which many psychiatrists refuse to admit, they admit at the same time that they have no way of predicting dangerousness. Stephen D. Hart, a psychologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, commented on this, stating, “There is no instrument that is specifically useful or validated for identifying potential school shooters or mass murderers.”[1]

A study conducted by a group of lawyers and psychologists and published in February 2020 in the journal Psychology Science in the Public Interest found that many tests used in courtrooms are considered scientifically unreliable; in the headline, the journal dubbed them “junk science.”[2]

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifically states that it “is not sufficient to establish the existence for legal purposes” of a “mental disorder” or “mental defect”. “, in relation to “jurisdiction, criminal responsibility or disability”.[3] For example, a man shot nine people, killing four. The lawyers asked a psychiatrist: “How well can you or any other psychiatrist or doctor predict the future conduct of another human being?” The psychiatrist replied, “Wrong. Psychiatry is a very inexact discipline. And the data we have on prediction indicates that the long-term prediction of violence is more often wrong than right.[4]

Other examples are in the full article which can be read here.

Yet the insanity defense has been used in many trials involving school or community shootings. Found unfit to stand trial or guilty but “mentally ill”, perpetrators may be sent temporarily or long-term to a mental institution to be forcibly drugged until they are found fit to stand trial or can be released. In one such case, the cost to the state was nearly $350,000 spent on psychiatric treatment.

The CCDH says psychiatrists ignore studies linking mind-altering drugs to violence, but inpatient psychiatric and mental health departments in prisons rely on these drugs as “treatment.” Defendants found to be “mentally ill” can now be referred to mental health courts to stand trial for misdemeanors, but these courts are pathways to forced treatment that includes hospitalization and “medication”.[5]

Governments have been misled into believing that mental health courts would give defendants better access to mental health treatment, that it would help them, and that it could reduce prison populations and crime. In California, Eric Harris, director of public policy at Disability Rights California, said, “There should never be a forced situation where you stick needles in people or force them to take drugs, that’s where that you walk into people who resent it and regret it and they go down a spiral of self-medication or any other number of problems.[6]

The CCHR points to another irony of psychiatric drugs, which are also used in executions. “On the one hand, drugs are presented as therapeutic, but they can provoke violence, resulting in the commission of crimes and criminal prosecution. And at the other end of the spectrum, they are used on death row,” said Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International.

In February 2022, the execution of a convicted Nevada killer was blocked because state officials were unable to obtain enough vials of the sedative ketamine, one of three drugs used during state executions.[7] Ketamine, an anesthetic and hallucinogen, is also prescribed to treat depression and in the administration of electroshock treatments. The killer, now 23, had also been prescribed psychiatric medication since he was 13.

There is a shocking history of failure in the mental health system to prevent one percent of its patients subjected to years of psychotropic psychiatric treatment from becoming violent.

CCHR co-founder, the late Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry, was adamant about the need to remove psychiatry from the criminal justice system: “The introduction of psychiatric considerations into the administration of criminal law, for example, the advocacy of insanity and verdict, diagnoses of mental incapacity to stand trial, etc., corrupt the law and victimize the subject on whose behalf they are ostensibly employed.[8]

The CCDH says its information is not intended to excuse violent crimes and make the perpetrator blameless, but to demonstrate why there may be a very different type of violent behavior that police and the community face today compared to to 50 years ago. “Psychiatric assessment that cannot predict dangerousness, court-ordered ‘treatment’, including mind-altering drugs that potentially create or exacerbate troubled mental states, should be eliminated from our criminal justice system,” Eastgate said. . “It doesn’t ‘cure’ the individual or protect the community.”

[1] https://www.cchrint.org/2022/05/23/mental-health-month-spotlights-failures-more-acts-of-senseless-violence/, “Predicting violence is a work in progress”, Washington Post , January 3, 2013. [2] “A new study calls into question the reliability of forensic psychology exams: a team of lawyers and psychologists examined 364 exams used in the legal system, and discovered that a third of them do not pass with experts Mental Health Forensics”, Wired, March 2, 2020 , https://www.wired.com/story/a-new-study-challenges-the-reliability-of-court-psych-exams/ [3] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-TR, (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), p. xxxiii [4] “ONCE A KILLER; SHOT MAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING NINE PEOPLE AND KILLING FOUR IS TRYING TO BE RELEASED FROM A MENTAL HOSPITAL”, 48 Hours, July 12, 1999 [5] https://insight.livestories.com/s/v2/mental-health-courts-los-angeles/dfa861fc-6520-4051-b215-9fdf2e62ecca/ [6] “California Governor’s Mental Health Court Plan Progresses Amid Concerns,” KCRA News, June 11, 2022, https://www.kcra.com/article/ca-governors-mental-health-court-plan- advances/40369801 [7] Rio Lacanlale, “Nevada Won’t Execute Zane Floyd This Month Before Ketamine Supply Expires”, Reno Gazette Journal, February 14, 2022, https://www.rgj.com/story/news/ 2022/02/14/nevada-not-run-zane-floyd-before-ketamine-supply-expires/6785862001/ [8] Thomas Szasz, MD, The Myth of Mental Illness, (Harper & Row, New York, 1974), pp. 267-268

Amber Rauscher
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
+1 323-467-4242
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