Dear jmarie, I was in a similar situation to you, except with no clear path towards mandatory treatment.
Months ago, I did call the crisis social workers on my family member, who had not committed a crime. Family member left home and returned having calmed down. I then chose not to receive “courtesy transport” to Emergency Department from police. Family member became more and more ill over a few days. The day I finally decided to commit, it was too late. With zero history of crime or violence, family member committed felony assault during the episode and has been in jail for months.
I knew he was very ill and did not wish to force things because 1.) where we live, I could not guarantee that he would receive treatment even if the police dragged him from our home (again) to the Emergency Room for assessment and 2.) The last thing I wanted to do was call social workers on him again if there would not be long-term help and he would stop trusting me.
We went through a year and a half of difficult relating after his first hospitalization brought about by a police hold two years ago. Police were called by the social workers I called. Family member was enraged with me. It took so long to restore our relationship.
That was nothing, nothing compared to him being incarcerated. 90% of people with schizophrenia will never harm themselves or others. Our family got the bad draw. Incarceration is worse than a nightmare; it is torture for someone in acute psychosis. If I could go back, I would have dragged him to the Emergency Department when I knew he was terribly symptomatic during acute psychosis. If I could go back even further, I don’t know what I would do because it took so long for us to be close again after the police hold two years ago.
That said, I don’t know what is best for your son and you. I really don’t. He might be among the vast majority of people with schizophrenia who will never get into legal trouble.
The jail where my family member is being housed just filled up when the weather dropped to freezing and the snow and ice-rain came. People commit crimes to get warmth and food. There are medical wards in the jail for people with medical illness and many inmates seem to be homeless with severe mental illness. It’s heartbreaking beyond belief.
Hindsight being 20/20, I did the wrong thing for my family member and for me.