The sickening and revolting treatment of the mental ill throughout Florida’s prison system and the most heinous act of scalding one inmate to death in a hot shower should be an outrage to every single person on this list. Florida is DEAD LAST of all the states for the funding of our mental health care system. Thousands of severely mentally ill crowd our jails and are treated with such inhumanity that it is hard for a normal person to grasp. Alerted to these abuses, the Miami Herald set off like a bulldog to make this information public. They exposed the unvarnished truth. This was muckraking reporting at its finest and deserving of Pulitzer awards.
I have rarely been so moved as I have been by the Herald’s explosive reports. The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun Sentinel have also spent hundreds of man hours exposing the flaws and sadness in the mental health systems. What is the most grossly unfair, however, is that no matter how loud our reporters raise their respective voices… the funding for Florida puts us last, yet with the highest per capita of severely mentally ill in the country that remain unhoused, jailed and homeless.
I am a caretaker to a family member who suffers from schizophrenia. I was scared for years that employers would find out. The understanding that one prays for rarely exists. I thank our media for enabling the reporters, editors and photographers to pursue investigative reporting at its finest. Gassing, starving, beating, and killing severely handicapped people in our own backyards needs to be exposed.
Take it upon yourselves and put these stories in front of anyone you know who can advocate for change and take Florida from the least funded state to one that shows the world we care for our most vulnerable.
And, join me in applauding our tri-county papers for taking up the torch!
oncallpr (at) aol (dot) com
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