4 years jail with mental health issues

(26 Posts)
ruledbyheart Sun 17-Feb-13 18:23:00

Genuine AIBU as the general consensus in RL is IBU but I don't think I am.

In my local paper this week two men with mental health issues have been jailed for burning down a grade 2 building, the motive of the main instigator is revenge for the owners firing him.

The accomplice is well known to me and I grew up with him, he is a very gental guy with various mental health issues including autism, he has a lower mental age than he actually is and he is very much a sheep in the way he lives because he doesn't know better, he doesn't live independently and needs help with a lot of things.

Now the main instigator got accomplice drunk and drove to the building (accomplice had no reason to burn said building down and wouldn't have been able to get there if wasn't for the instigator hadn't have drove) at building several bottles were lit by instigator and although at first accomplice said he wasn't involved it transpired in court that
He had lit and thrown one bottle after being egged on possibly threatned to do it.

Accomplice has been sentenced to 4yrs in prison, I find this throughly unfair due to the mental health issues and am concerned how someone with a much lower mental age will cope in prison if he can't cope in everyday life, a lot of people cherished the building and therefore think its a good result but AIBU to think otherwise?

MrsBW Sun 17-Feb-13 18:24:04

Were you at the trial?

ruledbyheart Sun 17-Feb-13 18:25:35

Yes I was accomplice is a family friend and we grew up together.

PatienceALittleThin Sun 17-Feb-13 18:26:03

YABU mental health issues do not equate to a get out of jail free card.

HollyBerryBush Sun 17-Feb-13 18:26:37

Surely his brief would have known all this and reports submitted?

Catsdontcare Sun 17-Feb-13 18:28:59

Autism isn't a mental health issue it's a neurological and developmental condition.

MrsBW Sun 17-Feb-13 18:29:30

Then, having huge experience of relatives with mental health issues, I don't think YABU.

However, I know my feelings on this might be skewed as my Mum is one of the people I know with MH problems and I know how easily led she is when poorly.

The court would have had a lot more detailed information than you and made a decision based on that. You are emotionally involved so you are going to think its unfair, they aren't, so are better qualified to decide what the correct punishment is.

ruledbyheart Sun 17-Feb-13 18:30:41

Yes they were, judge even stated he understood he had mental health issues and was led into doing it but the sentence was still remained fairly heavy.
Im not saying he shouldn't be punished but I don't think 4 years in prison is suitable for someone with his needs, Ive known perfectly well adults who couldn't cope inside so worry so much for him.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 17-Feb-13 18:31:50

It's impossible to say. Presumably the issues you mentioned were heard in court, and it was still decided that he was guilty. The court will also have heard a lot more information than you have been able to post here.

Catsdontcare Sun 17-Feb-13 18:32:13

YANBU to worry about how he will cope if he has significant special needs.

Mitchy1nge Sun 17-Feb-13 18:34:16

I don't think you're being unreasonable but I remember feeling shocked at the harshness of the recklessness test for arson (compared to some other offences).

SirBoobAlot Sun 17-Feb-13 18:35:16

It would depend on the mental illness to be honest. Autism isn't a mental illness.

If he is diagnosed as having a mental illness, he would have been assessed by a psychiatrist before the trial. There is a high rate of undiagnosed mental illnesses among those in jail, but in all honesty, if he has been deemed as capable to undergo trial, and lied about having done anything, then I'd agree with the ruling.

andubelievedthat Sun 17-Feb-13 18:42:56

a young man , local to where we stay at present was arrested a while back ,this fella has a rather low IQ, lower than average, i was in conversation with a solicitor re an arrest that had been made which i was of the opinion was not handled fairly/legally, the solicitor informed me that the young man i have mentioned had been "convinced" by the arresting officers that it would be in his interests to confess to 22 "low level" local crimes (which he had no involvment in )so he did, the local police look good, statistically/crime clear up rate /local paper reporting on same> you have (perhaps)to be on top of your game when arrested in this country , if there is any sign of "weakness" ? the police will be all over you, i am sorry re your friend ,unfortunately this is the legal system we apparently asked for?>as regards the bloke i have mentioned above ,?there are solicitors on it , thou is, at present in jail , its sometimes cheaper to leave him/anyone there,even the most well intentioned solicitor has to be paid. thou one of my other friends got arrested a while back (this fella is very wealthy) he was out in an hour >as Americans say "go figure"

McNewPants2013 Sun 17-Feb-13 18:44:24

op this booklet may help put your mind at rest.

www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/uploads/documents/Disability%20pib.pdf

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 17-Feb-13 19:12:14

I would probably put my faith in the jury's decision. They will have been in possession of all the facts. The judge will also have heard mitigating factors (such as mental illness etc) before passing sentence.

thekidsrule Sun 17-Feb-13 19:28:40

if it as my property that was burnt down/damaged i would think yabu

the bigger picture would make my mind up very much dependent on the severity of MH issues

JacqueslePeacock Sun 17-Feb-13 19:31:56

I think you must live in the area I live in! I don't know any of the people involved, but I also thought it was too severe a sentence for the accomplice, given the MH issues. YANBU

ruledbyheart Sun 17-Feb-13 19:36:43

Andubelievethat very similar case here, the man is very much mentally like a teenager, it is not just autism but has a range of mental health issues, pressure was put on him to admit to throwing the one bottle.
I just think the sentence is very heavy especially when the mental issues and considering I've seen cases where peoplehave got the same amamount of time for manslaughter.

ruledbyheart Sun 17-Feb-13 19:39:33

JaqueslePeacock I'm in Suffolk was in my local paper as well this week so a lot of people have seen this but had very much a mixed bag of opinions in real life but mostly IBU

LahleeMooloo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:44:08

Arson does generally attract heavy sentences- someone could have died. He will only serve two of the four years inside and sometimes prisoners with mental health issues do get transferred out of prison to psychiatric units.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 19:45:14

It is very sad when someone who's not inherently evil goes to jail, mental health issues or not.

He did change his story though. That surely would have gone against him.

You say he's more like a teen, a teen shouldn't have done what he did either.

It DOES seem a harsh sentence, and I suspect it had to be. Hopefully in our current system he'll be out in under 2 years, and hopefully his MH issues will be taken into account whilst in prison, though I suspect many people in jail claim to have MH problems.

YANBU to feel sad and angry. YABU to think that just because he was easily led should mean that he doesn't get the appropriate punishment. (For the record I think it's harsh in comparison to other more malicious crimes where people have died or been harmed).

Yfronts Sun 17-Feb-13 19:51:45

I think it depends on his mental age actually - I don't think autism aspect is relevant.

The age of criminal responsibility is 10. So if he has a higher mental age then this, I think he should take responsibility for his actions.

Yfronts Sun 17-Feb-13 19:53:13

At least no one died in the fire. Thats the main thing.

edam Sun 17-Feb-13 19:59:02

Just shows how easy it is for horrible, cruel, selfish types to manipulate people who are vulnerable. Sadly. I hope the court did consider his autism/mental health issues/any learning disability very careful in relation to any admissions he may have made and in relation to his level of culpability.

patchesmcp Sun 17-Feb-13 20:00:40

YABU. As Lahlee says someone could have died. Would you think the sentence was justified then? Courts don't just look at the harm caused, they also consider the risk of harm caused which in the case of arson could be huge.

The individual's mental health issues can't be that severe as otherwise he'd me unfit to plead and he wouldn't be going to prison if convicted, he'd be going to a hospital.

The court would have had reports available to it when sentencing from probation and his psychiatrist/gp if his solicitor thought they were necessary, so far more information than you have.

Finally, courts aren't there to give people the sentence they "need." Sentence is determined to a large extent on the purpose behind the sentence - the purpose of prison is punishment and a deterrent sentence to others. That is obviously what the court wanted to achieve in this case, and probably what it has done.

Sorry, if that sounds harsh as I appreciate your position, but as a member of the public the sentence sounds fine to me.

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