New York: Provide alternatives to JAIL for disabled individuals like Darius!
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Darius McCollum, a kind-hearted man on the Autism Spectrum, has spent nearly two decades in jail! Why? Because New York doesn't know where else to put him!
Darius loves the subway, buses and everything that is the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority). On numerous occasions, due to the obsessive nature of his Aspberger's, he has hopped into the driver's seat on buses and subways and proceeded as if he were a bus driver or subway conductor. He has never hurt anyone, never damaged any property, never even stolen the bus fare. He has even made the proper stops for passengers and made the appropriate announcements. Yet, what has been the result of all of Darius' love of public transit?
He has been jailed 32 times and this time may die in prison! New York has spent $60,000 per year jailing Darius multiple times instead of giving him the help he needs and deserves.
This is terrible injustice. Something is fundamentally broken in the New York criminal justice system and missing in terms of services for disabled individuals if instead of jail Darius was never offered:
*employment assistance for disabled individuals (including a specialized job or adult daycare if necessary);
*housing support (he should never have been at risk of homelessness!);
*counseling for his obsession; and
*social worker assistance in the court room (a liaison between the disabled community and the court system).
Darius and other non-violent individuals with disabilities should be given help, not jail sentences alongside rapists, gang members and other potentially dangerous offenders.
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