“Things fly . . . bugs, criminals, little people,” a Milwaukee jail inmate recently told a psychologist, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. He is part of what the newspaper calls a fad that appears to have swept through the jail: defendants claiming their mental health precludes them from understanding court proceedings.
The longtime felon from Chicago who said that things were flying added that he couldn’t make sense of the armed robbery charge facing him in Milwaukee. He was on the verge of being released and sent back to Chicago when he told a nurse, “You know I ain’t crazy.” He remains jailed on a robbery charge.
In recent months, more defendants appear to have been raising the mental illness issue, although they have been unsuccessful. “In the jail, there is an indoctrination of sorts that takes place,” said veteran forensic psychiatrist George B. Palermo. “Inmates talk.”