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By Dale Andrews ?A year has passed since the body of 22-year old Tiffon Peters was removed from a cell in the East Ruimveldt Police Outpost and his mother is still on a mission to satisfy her mind that the police are to be blamed for her son’s demise.Tiffon PetersOn January 22, Peters, who was mentally ill, was reportedly found hanging in the cell where he had been placed hours earlier after he was arrested for simple larceny.Although the police had promised that their Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate the matter thoroughly, the victim’s mother, Helena Peters, is still awaiting the final report, which might convince her that Peters took his own life as the police are claiming.“They said the file is with the DPP. I don’t know how long a file does take at the DPP,” Peters said.Like all deaths in police custody, suspicion is the order, and according to his mother, unless the police can convince her otherwise, she would continue to believe that foul play was involved.She visited this newspaper last week, desperate for answers, which she has reportedly not been able to get from the police.Last year, the police had stated that Tiffon Peters, of East Ruimveldt, was found hanging in a cell from his shirt, which he had stripped into a cloth-rope and tied to the metal grillwork of the lock-ups.The police claimed that at the time, he was in the cell with another prisoner, who was awakened by gasping sounds and alerted the police after seeing Peters hanging.The mentally challenged man was already booked to appear in court the following day.Kaieteur News was told that while in his cell, Peters told his cell mate, “Me ain’t able with this court thing.”According to a source, the other inmate was preparing to sleep when he heard a “cracking sound.”He reportedly then saw Peters dangling from the cell bars by his shirt.Upon hearing of his death, a small group of residents gathered outside the outpost, while Peters’ mother stood by the doorway singing hymns loudly.The woman had told reporters that she last saw her son alive earlier that day when she took a puri for his lunch, along with his medication.She indicated that her son had suffered from mental illness and that he had undergone psychiatric treatment.Apart from her suspicions over the cause of his death, she has raised concerns about the placing of her mentally challenged son in the lock-ups without supervision. She said that the police were aware of her son’s mental condition, since it was not the first time that he was in their custody.Helena PetersAccording to Helena Peters, her son, a trained mechanic, was previously incarcerated at the Camp Street Prison and the authorities there took the precaution of placing him under special watch.“They took care of him, so why the police didn’t do the same thing,” she questioned.“He was locked up in Suriname after he was found wandering, and they did not call me and tell me my son hang he self, they call me and I went to collect him. But in Guyana they call me to tell me he hang he self.”The question of police handling of the mentally challenged is fast becoming a bigger issue than is being accepted by local authorities.If it is not death in the lock-ups, it’s the violence perpetrated whenever the police confront mentally challenged persons.It is argued that instead of placing the mentally challenged in the lock-ups and then sending them to court, the proper intervention, which is psychiatric treatment, should be solicited.Take the case of James McDonald who was remanded for allegedly stealing his grandfather’s money back in March last year.McDonald has been a patient of Dr. Bhiro Harry since 2010, and was diagnosed with Drug induced psychosis, along with other concerns about his abusive, unstable childhood and teenage years.According to his sister Martina Johnson, a Senior Journalist/Radio Producer/Photographer with the Antigua OBSERVER, McDonald been locked up so many times and the authorities seem to be making no effort to have him treated for his mental condition.“There have been occasions where my brother was locked up for a week and more without being charged…this is very prevalent, as in many countries worldwide, but should not be accepted. Many times my relatives don’t even know he’s in custody…and we only learn after the fact, or when someone becomes concerned after not seeing him for a day or two and they decide to check the stations,” Johnson had told this newspaper during a conversation with a senior reporter.Research shows that Guyana is woefully short on professionals to treat with the mentally ill, especially those persons who are inclined to be violent or those who engage in petty thefts like McDonald and Peters.It is being suggested that proven mentally challenged persons should not be subjected to the same criminal procedures as ordinary individuals.Portland State researcher Heidi Herinckx followed 368 people who were diverted to the Clark County Mental Health Court from regular court. She found that in the year before being diverted, those in the group were arrested a total of 713 times; one year after completing the mental health court program, 199 of the group (54 percent) had no new arrests.For that same period, there were only 178 arrests for the entire group – a 75 percent reduction at a time when there was no longer court oversight.Probation violations dropped by 62 percent, while the percentage of those in the group with three or more arrests dropped from 26 percent to 3 percent (an 88 percent decline).According to the survey, 18 months after introducing a mental health court,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, Oklahoma County officials assert that the county saves as much as $15,000 per year by putting an offender in treatment, rather than jail.

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