The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a statement condemning the imprecise language recently used by public figures to discuss the connection between mental health and mass shootings. President Trump and Dana Loesch, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, used words including “sicko,” “nuts” and “crazy person” to describe the diagnoses of mass shooter Nikolas Cruz. The NAMI statement criticizes such comments as reinforcing “inaccurate and negative stereotypes” that “create barriers to having real conversations about how to improve the mental health services that lead to recovery and participation in American society by people experiencing mental health conditions.” CNN.com interviewed several mental health experts who also suggested that mental illness is not a reliable condition for predicting violent behavior. Click here to read NAMI’s statement and click here to read CNN’s article.
Danielle was almost 7 years old when detectives removed her from a filthy house in Plant City, Florida. She was so malnourished and neglected that doctors predicted she would be disabled for the rest of her life. The Tampa Bay Times’s Lane DeGregory won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for her profile of Dani and her adoptive family. Yesterday, Nov 29, DeGregoy published a fascinating update about Dani’s condition. Check out DeGregory’s latest report by clicking HERE, and to read the original award-winning story click HERE.
An op-ed from the Washington Post’s editorial board comments on an ACLU report that details damage faced by disabled inmates when they are placed in solitary confinement. The experience is often traumatic and the effects, difficult to reverse. Read more
Federal officials claim an attorney that hundred hired to fight to keep their disability checks funneled $600 million in fraudulent claims. Read more
In the wake of the Chicago attack on a teenager with intellectual disabilities, a New York Times writer reflects on the cruelty her brother faced as child. She writes of the Chicago attack, “His being different may be the main reason they chose him.” Read more
New data from the FBI shows that the number of hate crimes against Americans with disabilities have declined. Read more
In this investigative series into one of California’s largest group homes for children with mental disabilities and emotional disorders, ProPublica journalists expose failures at nearly every level to protect its troubled residents. The insitution at the center of the story, FamiliesFirst in Davis, was raided by police in June 2013 after a year of responding to hundreds of calls about drug use, rape, violence and negligence. According to reporter Joaquin Sapien’s explanation of how the story was covered, the investigators obtained data through public records requests and drew from interviews with more than three dozen subjects, including social workers and children who worked and lived in the home.
Read more, and watch the accompanying documentary “Sule’s Story,” at ProPublica.
A former New York City police officer pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the Social Security Administration on Wednesday. Prosecutors said Joseph Esposito helped police officers, firefighters and other city workers obtain disability benefits by faking mental illnesses. Read more.
A Southern Maryland teen diagnosed with autism in elementary school still thinks two girls charged with continuously assaulting him are his friends, according to the boy’s mother. St. Mary’s County police say the 15 and 17-year-old girls allegedly assaulted the boy from December to February of this year, sometimes taping the assaults on their cell phones. The 16-year-old boy, however, does not appear traumatized by the situation. Read more.
The second arrest in as many months in an ongoing investigation into alleged Social Security Disability Insurance fraud netted 28 more people yesterday. The Manhattan District Attorney charged the accused– mainly retired New York City police officers and firefighters– with grand larceny and attempted grand larceny.
In early January, more than 100 people were arrested on similar charges, again mostly New York City law enforcement. Authorities said the scheme could date back 26 years and involve up to 1,000 fraudulent schemes. Read more.