Earlier this month we had the opportunity to listen to Peter Earley speak about his book: “CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.” We rarely recommend a book after hearing an author speak and having only read the first chapter. However, this is a must read book. In addition, Peter Earley is someone whose message needs to be heard. It is amazing that we have not seen or heard of him having any presentations in NJ. This needs to be corrected.
I’ve been a journalist for more than thirty years, a reporter for the Washington Post, the author of several nonfiction books about crime and punishment and society, some of them award-winning, even two bestsellers. I’ve interviewed murderers and spies, judges and prosecutors, always seeking the truth and attempting to convey it so that readers can see the people and the events for themselves – can understand not only what happened, but why.
But I was always on the outside looking in. I had no idea what it was like to be on the inside looking out. Until my son Mike was declared mentally ill.
Suddenly the two of us were thrown headlong into the maze of contradictions, disparities and Catch-22s that make up America’s mental health system. Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness is a nonfiction book that tells two stories. The first is my son’s. The second describes what I observed during a year-long investigation inside the Miami- Dade County jail, where I was given unrestricted access. I feel more passionately about this book than any I have every written. Our nation’s jails and prisons have become our new mental asylums. I wrote this book as a wake-up call to expose how persons with mental illness are ending up behind bars when what they need is help, not punishment.
Important note: The word “CRAZY” in the book title refers to the mental health care system.