OR: Urgent: Bill on Psychiatric Imprisonment

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Mon, 10 May 1999 06:55:05 PDT

----Original Message Follows----
From: "David Oaks - Support Coalition International" <dendron@efn.org>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: OR: Urgent: Bill on Psychiatric Imprisonment
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 23:02:17 -0500 (CDT)

The below alert, prepared by Linda Sisson of Support Coalition Northwest, is 
about Oregon, but anyone is free to send in a good letter to oppose this 
bill! Even a brief letter helps.

Five Support Coalition members were at the hearing last week to testify in 
opposition, thank you!

If you can do just one thing on this campaign, please FAX a letter NOW to 
the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee. If you can't fax, you can e-mail or 
mail in your letter. Please act soon, they're deciding what to do now.

From: Linda Sisson - Support Coalition Northwest <Sissonl@aol.com>


Support Coalition is in the midst of fighting some truly horrendous bills 
which are slated for proposal to the Oregon Legislature.  The latest is SB 
1007, which is being heard by the Senate judiciary committee, and which 
could QUADRUPLE the involuntary commitment time from 6 months to TWO YEARS.

This bill was written in response to the tragic death of a Eugene woman who 
was stabbed by her mentally ill nephew who had a long history of criminal 
and violent behavior, and apparently substance abuse problems as well.

However, this bill is not just about criminals.  Any mentally labeled
individual could qualify for the increased commitment time if they have been 
committed ONE time in the previous three years or if they made a threat of 
violence, even if it wasn't carried out.

This bill could result in the increased incarceration of individuals who 
have not committed any crime, based on a prediction of future 
behavior.(Volumes of research show psychaiatrists have NO proven ability to 
predict dangerousness.)

We must let the senate judiciary committee members know that this bill
violates human rights by singling out the mentally labeled and subjecting 
them to reduced standards of legal treatment.  This is in direct opposition 
to the core constitutional rights which all Americans supposedly enjoy.

We must also let them know that MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT EQUAL VIOLENCE.

Labeled individuals are no more likely to be violent than any one else, and 
the vast majority of violent acts are committed by those who are not 
labeled. Those who commit criminal acts should be held responsible, not 
excused.  The problem is our society's confounding of mental illness with 
criminality.  This bill would punish people simply because they are mentally 
ill, not because they have done anything wrong.

This bill would cost millions of dollars which would drain resources away 
from other alternatives which are less expensive, more sustainable, and less 

This bill is about social control, locking more and more people up for
longer periods of time.  It is about scapegoating the mentally ill for the 
problem of violence in our society.

To contact the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee:

BY FAX:  1-503-986-1009.

At the top of the fax be sure to request that a copy go to all Oregon
Senate Judiciary Committee members.


Kate Brown         brown.sen@state.or.us
Neil Bryant          bryant.sen@state.or.us
Ginny Burdick      burdick.sen@state.or.us
Peter Courtney    courtney.sen@state.or.us
David Nelson       nelson.sen@state.or.us
Eileen Qutub       qutub.sen@state.or.us
Veral Tarno          tarno.sen@state.or.us

Here is that same list as one paragraph of e-mail addresses, so you can just 
copy and paste into your e-mail program:

brown.sen@state.or.us, bryant.sen@state.or.us, burdick.sen@state.or.us,
courtney.sen@state.or.us, nelson.sen@state.or.us, qutub.sen@state.or.us,

For further information about opposing SB 1007,
contact Support Coalition Northwest activists:

Linda Sisson <Sissonl@aol.com>
David Oaks <dendron@efn.org>

Support Coalition Northwest is one of
70 sponsoring groups in:

Support Coalition International
454 Willamette, Suite 216
PO Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

Phone: (541) 345-9106
Fax: (541) 345-3737
E-mail: dendron@efn.org
Web: www.efn.org/~dendron

Support Coalition: A non-profit federation
of 70 groups in 11 countries united to WIN
human rights in the "mental health system."

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