Today comes word that country singer Mindy McCreedy is under investigation in the death of her boyfriend aka baby Daddy David Wilson. This maybe yet another example of our court system not understanding mental illness. Several months ago I wrote about the death of my former client Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis. Johnny was sentenced to rehab and NOT mental health treatment. Yet, as was proven by his autopsy, he was not a drug addict. The issue here is that 12-step programs do not treat mental illness. Judges who simply orders an offender to “rehab” is doing the defendant and society a great injustice.
In the case of Mindy McCreedy who also starred on Celebrity Rehab, there is no doubt she is an addict. But, there is also no doubt that after years of the rehab circuit she also must have serious mental health issues. The same looks to be true for many other celebrities in the news- even Lindsay Lohan. This is why courts would be much better off having full psychiatric evaluations for people who are repeat offenders.
Yes, it is much easier to order a person to DUI diversion or a 12 step program, but in the long run we must get a grip on what is going on with the serious mental health issues that are plaguing our society and of course our criminal justice system. To label a person just a drug addict and have “therapy” performed by former addicts and not actual doctors is a very costly mistake. I often arrange alternative sentences for my clients, but I try my best to make sure that they will benefit my clients in the long run as well.
Reality TV shows like Teen Mom and Celebrity Rehab only show addiction, not mental illness. And these shows offer no solutions. There is help for people with mental illness and there is hope. But, we need to raise awareness.
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at email@example.com