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My Experience in Jail as a Person With a Mental Illness

I was put in jail when I needed help for my mental illness.

I was on the run, suicidal and they had called the police. I tried to run from the police officer only to be tackled in front of everyone because at the time I lived at an assisted living facility. I hated it there and I wanted to get away.

The cop captured me and took me to the police station and then I was transferred to the local jail. I was processed and put in a padded gown. Then I was put into a padded room for days.

I’m not sure how many days because I wasn’t allowed to leave and no one ever came in. I got food through a slot in the door. There were no windows. There was no bed, just hard padded concrete. There was a hole in the center of the floor where I could use the bathroom. I was never given my medicine so I was going through withdrawals.

I remember it being very cold and I had no blanket or pillow. I had been deemed involuntary and was waiting for a hospital to open up. The whole time I was there I never got to leave or shower or take care of my hygiene. I spent most of my time sleeping.

When the time came for me to go to the state hospital, I was shackled and still had to wear the padded dress. They loaded me in the back of the cop car and off we went. I showed up late at night shackled and in a very unflattering padded dress. Then I was left for them to deal with me.

I’m telling you this story because there has to be a better way to keep someone safe.

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Getty image via luna4