Mental Illness and Prison
Petition to Magistrate Terry Gardner Brisbane Magistrates Court, Judge Orazio Rinaudo Chief Magistrate
Harsher sentences for animal cruelty!
A HEARTLESS kitten torturer who put a baby cat in a hot oven, ripped its teeth out, and cut its claws off before trying to drown it has been spared jail time despite his deranged and disturbing acts against the innocent animal. Jiawen Zhang, 20, an engineering student from St Lucia in inner Brisbane, pleaded guilty to serious animal cruelty in Brisbane Magistrates Court today after severely mutilating and torturing a baby female kitten that was trying to escape with her mother from his back yard. Magistrate Terry Gardner sentenced Zhang to six months in prison but with immediate parole, calling his actions “cruel, callous and deliberate”. On November 14, Zhang stole the kitten from her mother and threw it in his sharehouse oven, which was still hot. The kitten’s fur was burnt off as she scratched to get out, and she also suffered significant burns to her belly, paws and legs, the court was told. Zhang then took the still alive animal up to his room and began ripping her teeth out and cutting off her toes with nail clippers, causing significant bleeding, the court heard. He then took the baby cat to the bathroom and attempted to drown her by flushing her in the toilet, but was then caught in the act by his housemate who had just arrived home. Zhang then tried to get rid of the kitten by throwing her into nearby bushes at his property, but due to her severe injuries she was unable to move. His housemates called police and the kitten was taken to Toowong Family Vet for life-saving care. Zhang’s lawyers claimed the mother cat and her baby leaving the property, reminded him of the rejection he believed he was suffering from housemates and university peers. The court heard the perceived exclusion motivated him to commit the callous acts. The court heard that Zhang had depression, which was undiagnosed at the time, and tortured little Cinders “to try and make him feel better about himself.” The veterinary clinic named the little kitten, Cinders and after her miraculous recovery has now been adopted by a loving family, who have renamed her Clare. Nurse Tahlia Woodlock from Toowong Family Vet said that the kitten will have ongoing health issues due to the trauma she sustained from the brutal incident. We want to see the case re-examined as this leniency is unacceptable and sends a disturbing message to the public. People with mental illness who commit heinous crimes should be put into prison psychiatric care not put back on the streets to reoffend. This is just another repercussion of the The Richmond Report.
Petition to Legislature of the Virgin Islands
Support quality and affordable mental health programs on St. John
St. John medical practitioners see many patients who suffer from mental illness or have a family member or loved one suffering from mental illness. Medical practitioners on St. John frequently struggle with the lack of options and treatment programs available to refer patients to receive proper and needed care. In the Virgin Island territory, mental health care is a critical missing component of holistic care plans for reaching optimal health. St. John, in particular, is lacking affordable and accessible mental health care options. St. Johnians with mental illness are often forced to forgo the care they need due to the unavailability of programs to serve this community need, which poses a detrimental risk to the wellbeing of both the patients and the community as a whole. Often, intervention and care only occur when the mentally ill hurt themselves or others. This intervention is then usually in the form of incarceration, which is not an appropriate or effective method of treatment. The territory needs inpatient, outpatient, and community outreach programs in order to reach the wide array of patients needing mental health treatment. Please help the Virgin Islands, and particularly St. John, create quality and affordable mental health programs!