|Jared Loughner has been at the Springfield, Missouri federal prison since May 27, 2011, after a federal judge concluded that he was mentally unfit to help in his legal defense. For those who find that his name is no longer recognizable, be reminded that he pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the January 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.
Loughner was forcibly medicated between June 21 and July 1. He was given twice-daily doses of risperidone, an antipsychotic also called a major tranquilizer or neuroleptic.
Prison officials stopped doing that on July 2 after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted his lawyers' request for a temporary stay of involuntary medication.
While being examined on July 8, Loughner said he was depressed and he was put on a suicide watch. The federal appeals court reversed itself and refused to bar prison officials from forcibly administering psychotropic drugs to Loughner, which they promptly resumed.
What are they not telling us?
It could be dangerous to immediately cease taking psychiatric drugs because of potential significant withdrawal side effects. Sudden withdrawal from risperidone specifically has the side effects of depression, hostility, violence, mood changes, unusual behavior, and suicidal thoughts. Psychiatrists then blame these drug withdrawal side effects on some fraudulent mental disorder requiring treatment by more psychiatric drugs.
Notwithstanding the fact that Loughner is charged with serious crimes for which he should be held accountable if found guilty, there is still a serious violation of medical ethics and human rights in forcibly drugging a person with addictive, psychotropic drugs that have the same behavioral results for which the person is ostensibly being "treated."
The rehabilitation of criminals is a long-forgotten dream. We build more prisons and pass even tougher laws in the belief that these will act as a deterrent. Meanwhile, honest people are losing faith in justice itself as they see vicious criminals avoid conviction through the use of bizarre and incomprehensible defense tactics. The hidden influence of psychiatry and psychiatrists in our courts and justice system has betrayed us.
Commentary by Citizens Commission of Human Rights of St. Louis, Inc.