I live with Schizophrenia and have a son in jail

My son lives with mental illness and is currently incarcerated. I am having a hard time coping. He spent about a year in jail. Then they sent him to a State hospital for treatment for about another year and half. Now they have sent him back to jail. How long IDK. Any suggestions?

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So sorry for your painful situation. I don’t have any answers but you’ve come to a great forum to share our common struggles. Please read from so many helpful and loving people in this community.


@Lilia_Loor I understand your concern as my daughter was jailed for a time, and hospitalized by police several times. I suggest that you try to look at the good side, he is being given care, is safe from outside world influences, and most people in jail are not violent so he should be safe in jail.

How long was his original sentence for?

I suggest that you try to call someone who could tell you what his sentence is and how much “time” he has served. A person at the jail could probably tell you, or his past lawyer or even past prosecuting lawyer. I talked to lawyers on a website called “justanswer.com” several times for help in my own past. It costs a bit of money, but you get answers fast online. I think I paid $45 each time.

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Ok. Ty! His charge is Carjacking and it carries a 15-30 yr sentence. Between the hospital and jail, he’s been gone about 2 and a half yrs. Idk anything because he won’t let me speak to his attorney or social worker

What state do you live in? Some states have deferral systems for people with mental illnesses. You may be able to get a lawyer to work on his behalf on a pro bono basis. I’d contact NAMI to see if they can help you advocate on his behalf. Also outcomes, scheduling and other information of legal proceedings are public record which often can be accessed online. In some cases mental health information is sealed, however. A lawyer or legal aide service may be able to help you navigate this information.

As a point of clarification, when you say “you live with schizophrenia”, I’m assuming you mean you live with the consequences of your son’s mental illness, and aren’t diagnosed with the disease. Some people use the phrase “I live with (insert disease here)” to emphasize they are diagnosed with a chronic disease which may be managed (or not), but without recovery.

I live in NJ. Currently NAMI is helping me. I did have an Attorney email me some court papers but she was the only one that helped. All the others want 10,000 to start working on his case and they make no guarantees. I tried looking for a pro-bono criminal defense
Attorney to no avail. And yes, I have to be very careful because this is a stressful situation and I am diagnosed with schizophrenia myself. Ty so much for all the helpful advise thou.

Gosh @Lilia_Loor $10 thousand just to start, woweee. I’m sorry. Glad you are talking to NAMI in your area. And watching out for your own self. You definitely deserve to come here to vent.

Sorry for your situation. Did going to the state hospital improve your son’s mental state? My son was in jail earlier this year for 6 months waiting to be admitted to state hospital (in TX). He was 202 on wait list - he was never admitted to hospital because he served max time of 6 months and had to be released. It’s terrible to be held in jail simply because no bed is available for treatment. Less than a month of release - went to behavior hospital. Less than 2 months of release, back in jail. Still there. Going thru mental health court now. I don’t have much info of what’s going on either. I occasionally talk with paralegal of his court appointed attorney. It’s a slow process. I can email my son. Sometimes he responds, sometimes not. He has only contacted me twice in last 3 months. I struggle with his situation also. But, I will admit I do have some comfort that he is housed, fed and safe. He’s been off meds for about 18 months. He has anosognosia (lack of insight) which makes things more difficult. I’m hopeful that something good will result from this process and he gets back on meds and can regain control of his life. I’ve struggled for 7 years to make things better and have had to “let go” and realize it is his decision and actions that will determine his life. I’m willing to be a support but know I can’t do everything. Don’t have any answers but know that you are not alone. Take care.

Ty Sando! I will do my best to do that

Ty! and next time I talk to him I will ask him to find out how much time served he has

Hi Maggottbrane! Thanks for all your help. How exactly can I access my son’s outcomes, scheduling and other information of legal proceedings? You said that they are public record and can be access online. What do I have to search? Where do i go??

Ty oldlady blue! Yes. that is a big chunk of change and the worst part about it is the attorney don’t guarantee anything.

Ty TXmom! I feel your pain. Yes. the hospital helped my son. He was forced to take meds after a while of being in there. In jail, they actually evaluated him and he was sent to the hospital. he spent about a year and a half there and he did get better. They determined that he is competent to stand trial and he was sent back to jail. And yeah. he has a public denfender and I 've been advised not to try to rescue him by hiring an attorney because they do go back to not taking their meds and wind back in jail like your son. I also have the same problem you have. My son reached out to me the first few times when he went back to jail but I haven’t heard from him in about a week. I struggle juse like you, especially because I was a single mom struggling with my own mental illness. My kids were in the foster care system and my children were often moved around. Everytime I had to go to the hospital to get well. As an adult my son went from house to house sleeping on people’s sofas and be fore he was jailed he lived at the shelters. I feel guilty because his life has never been stable and even now he is getting shifted back and forth. I strruggle with letting go as well but you are right it is their decisiwith what ons and actions that will determine their lives. I aslo support my son. For now, I get together with his grandmother and send send him $50.00 commisary a month. I can’t do everything either. And ty! we are not alone!!


Please try to stop feeling guilty. You didn’t cause his illness, and not every problem has a solution. Just do your best to help your son, and yourself.


Ty! I Will do my best.




Sorry for the delay in my response, I’ve been traveling.

You can get New Jersey Court records by form request and online searching on the following website:


Which court(s) his case was adjudicated in depends on the severity of the offense(s) and the location (jurisdiction) of the offenses. I’m not familiar with the hierarchy of the New Jersey Court system, but I’d guess from the severity of the offenses you’ve mentioned they may have tried in one of the Superior Courts. The systems appear to be largely set up for access by legal professionals, but there are provisions for limited searches by individuals and people who represent themselves.

Given your unfamiliarity with legal proceedings, I recommend requesting help from a legal aid service or reaching out through public access to the courts directly.

While I am also diagnosed with SZ/SZA, I have contacts with legal experience and I’m relatively high functioning. Being able to navigate legal records is a useful skill for all caregivers. I wish I’d been aware of these systems sooner, as I’ve learned many details of legal troubles my brother lied about, omitted important details about, or completely covered-up.

Ty 4 sharing. I am also higly functional and will work on my son’s legal issues as best as I can. I am sorry to hear about your brother. Did he lie about you or about himself?