Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey, who represents Alex Hribal who is accused of a stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional High School in Pennsylvania, said, “I think they should be ashamed of themselves,” Thomassey said. “I mean, this young man needs some help, some psychiatric therapy and I can’t find a place to take him and I think that’s pathetic.

He told the local media that the refusal by a psych hospital to treat someone with mental illness illustrates the deterioration of the mental health system. Initially the hospital had abided by a judge’s ruling to treat him, but then went back on that agreement and refused for “safety reasons.” Southwood Psychiatric Hospital in the South Hills agreed to treat Hribal, but days later changed their minds.

Hribal is accused of stabbing 20 classmates and a security guard in April.

Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani ruled Friday after a transfer hearing that Hribal should receive mental health treatment at a secure facility that can provide jail-like security.

District Attorney John Peck released a statement that said, “[State expert] Dr. Wright testified…that it was his opinion that Alex Hribal needs treatment, not hospitalization…”

Due to this about-face, the judge has now ordered that Alex Hribal will receive his treatment in Westmoreland County’s juvenile detention center while awaiting trial. Westmoreland County Judge Chris Feliciani amended his order stating that he could find no facilities in the state of Pennsylvania that would accept Hribal for treatment. Doctors have testified in hearings that Hribal was alienated by other students, became obsessed with the 1999 Columbine school massacre, and thought he would die when he took two kitchen knives to his high school.

Hribal is charged as an adult with 21 counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault as well as weapons offenses. The judge appointed psychiatrist Manuel Reich and psychologist William Bush to provide Hribal treatment. The director of the Regional Youth Services Center where Hribal is being held said that the facility can provide whatever the judge orders.

Thomassey said that Hribal cannot receive the level of treatment he needs in jail, but “there is no other solution right now.”

RELATED:  National Alliance on Mental Illness

“We’ve basically gone back to where we were 170 years ago,” Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, told Kaiser Health News, “We are doing an abysmal job of treating people with serious mental illnesses in this country. It is both inhumane and shocking the way we have dumped them into the state prisons and the local jails.

READ:  Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association Report on the Mental Health Crisis in PrisonsUS prisons hold 10 times more mentally ill people than state hospitals. — READ FULL 2014 REPORT HERE.  You can also read their 2010 Report Here.

In 2006, Jamie Fellner, Director, U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch said, “Prisons are woefully ill-equipped for their current role as the nation’s primary mental health facilities.


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