Thursday, November 01, 2007

Community members call for better treatment in Virginia

The following quotes are from news coverage of the death of Susanne Thompson, who was stabbed while walking her dog Saturday morning. Johnny Hughes, the man charged with her murder, has a history of mental illness.

He's [Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder] concerned that state law doesn't always allow mandatory treatment of mentally ill people with criminal histories.

“… this situation represents a much larger problem. The real question is how many others are similarly situated across the state and the region who need coordinated mental health resources in order to reduce any possibility of this situation recurring.”

Hughes' younger sister, Chesterfield County resident Jackie Lewis, said the killing could have been avoided.

"We are so deeply sorry for this innocent loss," Lewis said on behalf of her family. "I'm sure if my brother was in his right mind, he would feel the same way."

"Somebody dropped the ball in terms of his care," she said.

Richmond Sen. Henry Marsh: "The purpose . . . is to create an assisted outpatient treatment program so that those mentally ill persons who are capable of being maintained safely in the community with the help of such a program can receive those services."

"The things he [Hughes] was saying, he didn't belong here," said [Richmond Sheriff C.T.] Woody, who has complained that the jail does not have the facilities or resources to care for the hundreds of mentally ill men and women doing time there.

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