Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 11:46:00 AM

David Webster: criminally insane

Read here the story of David Webster. Mr. Webster seems to be one of those whom we definitely want to be locked away somewhere. He is a dangerous man. He also has some mental illness lurking inside him. Among other things, he has symptoms of bipolar disorder. So, where do we put such a man? Prison? Yes and no.

I have been (as a visitor) on the ward for violently insane men at a nearby mental hospital. I had to go through many locked doors to get to the ward. It was like visiting a penitentiary. It was not a nice place to be, even as a visitor. In fact, to me, it was horrifying.

We need to stop looking at an insanity plea as if it is an attempt to get out of punishment. It is, in fact, trading one kind of prison for another kind of prison -- the prison which is the ward for the criminally insane. This prison is no vacation. It is no different from regular prison with the exception that medical care for the mentally ill is available. This is what David Webster needs. He needs to be locked away and he needs treatment.
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