Statements by City Councilor Patrick Paradis in the article, “Augusta River-view release plan irritates city officials” (Aug. 8), were hurtful and misleading.

Paradis said, “These aren’t just mentally ill patients, they’re criminals.” The Federal Court of Appeals, however, has ruled that forensic patients are not criminals and will not be criminally confined.

Paradis continues, “people have died and been severely injured. And some of these people (forensic patients) are going to be walking around Augusta unescorted. When are they going to lose control again?”

Let’s say someone with a medical condition, such as epilepsy or a heart problem, is driving, has an accident and kills somebody. They are not charged because their medical condition caused the accident. They can even continue to drive as long as they can show they are on medication for their condition.

Also, no stigma is attached to them. People don’t ask, “When are they going to lose control again?”

Paradis agreed that forensic patients are on medication and under control 95 percent of the time. “But in the other 5 percent of the time, it could lead to another murder…” This murder referred to happened 28 years ago.

For the 5 percent of the time they are not under supervision, should these people be denied the chance to become productive members of society?

Drug dealers and users, child molesters, gang members and other criminals live in the community without medication or supervision, and they lose control all the time. The community is safer with forensic patients living there because of the medication they are on and the supervision they are under.

When will society see that mental illness is no different than any other illness? It is treatable and controllable.

Donald Beauchene


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