A Mississippi Scandal:
The story of a boy named Tyler locked up at age 16
December 28, 2017
Chronicle news & opinion
(NATIONAL) -- If you think you've heard about or read over the years virtually every ugly, shocking story there is about America's broken criminal justice and mental health systems, then you'll need to reevaluate that opinion in light of the tragic tale of 16-year old Tyler Haire.
Haire was locked up for a crime he committed in the poverty ridden, Tea Party loving third world country often called the state of Mississippi in the USA.
His second crime was, he was a severely mentally challenged boy in desperate need of good mental health care. His third crime was, he lived in the state of Mississippi where it seems they provide better care for good huntin' dogs, moonshine stills and 20-year old shotguns than human beings.
ProPublica has published a world-class investigative piece on what happened to Tyler after he was arrested in Vardaman, Mississippi for attacking his father’s girlfriend with a knife.
Tyler, then 16, called 911 himself after the stabbing. When the cops showed up they found him "seated quietly on a tree stump outside the home on County Road 433. The boy alternately said he could remember nothing and that they had the wrong man. Tyler was taken to the county jail in Pittsboro, 12 miles away, where the sheriff, worried that the awkward and overweight boy might hurt himself or be targeted by other inmates, placed him in a cell used for solitary confinement."
Five months later at age 17, a jury indicted him for aggravated assault and his case went before a judge. In part what ProPublica discovered about the boy's case was this:
.....During his childhood Tyler suffered from seven different mental disorders. He did strange things including chasing his two siblings around with a knife trying to stab them. Got sent to a home for "troubled boys."
...A judge signed an order to order to have Tyler assessed at the state hospital to determine if he even had the mental capacity to understand the charges against him (stabbing his father's girlfriend) or the difference between right from wrong.
...He then spent the next 1,266 days in the Calhoun County jail before he got his evaluation. He was never once seen by a psychiatrist in those 1,266 days and had to go without the multiple drugs he had taken as a boy that helped control his behavior. His father had friends of his who were in jail with Tyler, "give the boy a beating for the trouble he’d caused his family," according to the report. One time Tyler was found naked in the woods after he ran off during a stint on a work detail.
And it goes downhill from there describing how Tyler spent his 18th, 19th and 20th birthdays in jail waiting to have his "mental evaluation" that was ordered when he was 17 years of age.
Read the full report here .