The man accused of stabbing two children last week in a Brooklyn, N.Y., elevator had a history of involuntary psychiatric commitment, but Daniel St. Hubert may not have connected with mental health services after being released from prison on May 23, CBS News reports. Hubert, 27, is charged with murder, attempted murder, and assault for his alleged attack on 6-year-old Prince Joshua Avitto, who was killed, and 7-year-old Mikayla Capers, on June 1. He is also suspected in other stabbings. All of the crimes took place less than two weeks after St. Hubert was released from prison after serving five years on an attempted murder charge for strangling his mother with an electrical cord.
“The first couple weeks after someone gets out are just critical,” says Amy Blake Wilson of Case Western University, who has studied how people with mental illness access care on release from jail. Brian Stettin of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a non-profit devoted to improving mental health care, agrees: “You can’t just drop someone with severe mental illness into the community and expect they’re going to find their way to treatment. Very often, part of their disease is that they don’t think they have a disease.” Wilson says that because of the “complex web of decentralized service providers…It’s very hard for even the best re-entry planner to figure out how to hook someone up with mental health and substance abuse counseling in their local community.”