Sorry, I’m a great big bleedin’ heart liberal, but I disagree.
I have two cousins. One’s schizophrenic. The other’s a herion addict.
The one with schizophrenia has a had a few minor scrapes with the law - mostly pot possession and a few disorderly conduct tickets. The legal trouble has given the local courts a bit of a sense of urgency in transferring guardianship to my aunt and uncle, with a speed that probably wouldn’t have happened had it been handled strictly through the mental health system. His parents now have the legal authority to force him in to treatment when he needs it, which has pretty much prevented him from going over the edge. The local cops now know who he his, and what his problems are, and usually give his folks a chance to help him out and get him calmed down instead of throwing him in the clink when they pick him up in the middle of the night on the side of the road acting crazy.
The parents of the herion addict are complete pushovers, going on ten years. She’s stolen their jewelry, cars, checks, credit cards, and her little brother’s Playstation. She’s stolen stuff from her older siblings. In all this time, they’ve never been quite able to call the cops, figuring all she needs is a little more help, a little more love, a few more dropped hints that maybe she should seek some counseling.
Oh, she’s also had three kids by three different guys, the oldest of whom is five (the kids, not the guys). Until recently, she retained custody of all three of them. She likes to take them with her when she goes out in the middle of the night to cop.
One of her sisters has finally managed to get temporary custody of the kids, and then only because she provided the family court judge with a list of the latest outrages. In the past, her handful of shoplifting and minor possession busts were never enough to make anybody in the system look in to the welfare of the kids or consider forcing her in to rehab.
I firmly believe that few grand theft complaints by her parents or siblings earlier on in this whole drama could have prevented a lot of harm to her and her family. Sure, she would have had felonies on her record, but after treament, some hard work, and time, felonies can be expunged.
It’s one thing to suggest pure counseling or treatment if the addiction or mental health problems aren’t directly affecting anybody else, but once they cross the line into a repeated pattern of criminal behavior, often the only real option is to call the cops.