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45 J. Offender Rehab. xxiii (2007)

handle is hein.journals/wjor45 and id is 1 raw text is: 





   Mental Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System. Pp. xxiii-xxiv.
   Available online at http://jor.haworthpress.com
   @ 2007 by The Ha worth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.








   Preface


   At the time of this writing, it has not been two weeks since the Vir-
ginia Tech shooting claimed  the lives of more than 30 people. This
case was  particularly tragic to myself and book  contributor Keith
Durkin as we were  graduate students at Virginia Tech for several years
during the 1990s. Since the shootings much has been learned about the
solo mass murderer. He suffered from some  form of mental illness and
had been seen by mental health professionals. He had even been held for
psychiatric observation and been legally deemed a danger to himself.
The very next day following the shootings I had to give a presentation
entitled Mentally Ill People in the Criminal Justice. This presentation
had been scheduled  more than two months  previous. At this presenta-
tion everyone in the room  knew  my  personal connection to Virginia
Tech  and the title of the presentation. They expected to hear me speak
about the Virginia Tech shooting, the mind  of a mass murderer, and
how  such people can be picked from the crowd before they harm others.
What  could be more  dramatic than 30 + people killed by an offender
with mental illness, building doors chained to prevent escape, and 170 +
rounds fired? I let the audience know that this case was not the typical
intersection of mental health and criminal justice and that I would speak
about primarily non-killers who suffer from a mental illness who are a
part of the criminal justice system and need treatment. In subsequent
days, many newspaper  stories discussed the idea that if mentally ill peo-
ple don't want treatment, they should be forced into it and that people
who  fit some kind of potential mass murderer profile should be held
over for psychiatric observation. I was very frustrated and let more than
one reporter know that we have an obligation to treat those persons with

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