My brother, Keldann Davunt, was arrested during a mental health episode. He is a first-time offender of a nonviolent crime. He has been awaiting trial for nearly 4 months, and is stuck in jail, growing more unstable without access to treatment.
In an episode of paranoia, my brother decided to drive cross-country to our family in Minnesota for help. When his car ran out of gas in Pennsylvania, he became extremely disoriented and got into a car that wasn't his, the car had keys in the ignition and so he drove it less than a mile and pulled over when he realized the car wasn't his. He only made it about a mile before pulling over, and was soon found by the police. This was back in November, and he has been sitting in a PA jail cell ever since. What’s worse, he is being forced to pay rent at $10 a day for every day he is there.
Keldann’s trial date has been postponed three times so far. My brother is not dangerous, and would not pose a threat to anyone if he had access to the treatment he is entitled to under the law. But the stress of jail, along with his growing instability, have gotten him in trouble with guards, and I fear his trial will be delayed once again due to his mental state.
Please understand, our family does not have a lot of money. We cannot afford the unreasonably high bail that has been set for Keldann. I am calling on the judge in his case to reduce his bail, so he can leave prison and get the help he needs while he awaits trial.
The judge has said she wants the bail conditions reduced, but the DA will not budge, insisting that because he doesn’t live in PA, the bail should be high. Since he can’t leave the state, he is at the mercy of Pennsylvania, which just settled a lawsuit filed by the ACLU for its mistreatment of mentally ill inmates. Keldann’s experience is not out of the ordinary -- it turns out on average, mentally ill detainees in Pennsylvania spend 397 days in custody before receiving treatment. This is unethical, and downright dangerous.
Keldann Davunt is a son, brother, friend and father figure. More importantly, he is a human being. He is not a criminal, but a much-loved person fighting severe mental illness. My brother should be getting treatment, not sitting helpless in a jail. Please sign my petition urging the judge in Keldann Davunt's case to lower his bail, so that he may leave prison and receive mental health treatment while awaiting his trial date.