Son incompetent to stand trial - what now?

My son was judged incompetent to stand trial and has been ordered to a state hospital in an attempt to restore competency. My attorney says it could be a 6 month stay. Has anyone had the experience of a loved one going to a US (FL in my case) state mental hospital. I’m nervous about the kind of care he will receive. Any experiences or input would be greatly appreciated? My main question is has anyone witnessed successful treatment in a state mental hospital?

Well, I was in a state hospital a few times, and their care was sub par. Having said that, Jared Loughner (who shot Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords) was rehabilitated in a state hospital and stood trial, and was ultimately convicted of something like 19 counts related to the shooting (he killed a few people including a judge). I don’t know Florida hospitals, but state hospitals IN GENERAL can be kind of spotty in their care for patients.

Thanks for the reply. Were you allowed visitors and personal belongings? Also, were you able to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist or just given meds?

Well, I was in there in the mid-90s. I was allowed visitors, but not many personal belongings. Shoe strings, electronics and other goodies were a no-go. No psychologist, but I spoke to a psychiatrist once a week, sometimes more often.

Thanks for the insight. I guess we’ll just see what happens. We have not yet found a successful formula for dealing with this horrific ride that we have been on, but we will continue to hope and support.

Sorry about the confinement. Hope all goes as well as can be expected for you, and that your son gets quality treatment.

I imagine he will be allowed visitors and based on his compliance, more opportunities outside confinement. I don’t think psychologists are often the best in a hospital setting, but he might get lucky if he’s able to see someone. Hospital is better than jail probably. So he’ll stay for six months until he can stand trial. My suggestion is to give him books as that’s about all you do is read, watch movies, and talk.

In 2010 I tried to take an officer’s gun while I was in a psychotic state. I was charged with assault on a police officer, but because it happened in an ER I was restrained and not taken to jail. With charges I could not be transferred to a private hospital and instead went to a state hospital. I had a very positive experience. Every day I met with a team including a psychiatrist. She was the best I ever had in a hospital even comparing to private facilities. The head nurse was also awesome. She knew how to talk to me while I was psychotic and calmed me down without meds. Sometimes PRNs were necessary, but she was great. The groups were also a lot more beneficial than the ones I have experienced in private facilities. Keep in mind I’ve been in and out of the hospital since I was 13, and when this happened I was 26. So I’ve been around the block a few times. All psychiatric facilities have limitations of what is allowed as far as personal affects, but I remember being allowed to have my mp3 player. We worked on a reward system where you moved up levels which allowed more privileges and freedoms. In all of my hospital stays the one thing that always got me through was making friends. People to talk to and play cards with. I’m sorry your son is going through this. When I did go to court for my charges my attorney advised me that it really isn’t good to be found innocent due to mental defect because those records stay with you and if a potential employer sees them they will obviously know your not right in the head and it caused you to break the law in the past. I ended up being accepted into PreTrial Intervention. I went to a probation officer for a while and now can have my arrest record expunged as I was never convicted of anything. I really lucked out. Oh one more thing about the state hospital. The staff let me chant, as I am a Buddhist, in a private room by myself. I really felt they worked with me. I wish you the best of luck. :sun_with_face:

Where I am in KY, some of the hospitals were not that great. Afew were. He is going to be in there for awhile-he should be allowed visitors and a few personal affects. I would make sure that you stay as close as possible with the doctor in care of your son so you know what is going on with meds, etc…Also get your son to sign a release ( assuming he`s of age ) so that the doctors and nurses can talk to you. He will probably see some kind of therapist and they may have group meetings.
As I said-the most important thing is that YOU know what is going on there with his treatment.
Someone who is in the hospital for 6 months should come out pretty stable.
I wish you and your son luck.

I’ve been in state hospitals before, but not the kind your son will be in. The places I went weren’t resorts, but they weren’t concentration camps either.

Thank you very much for your response. It is very encouraging. I have been praying for someone who can relate and get through to James, because I think he can recover and at least cope. So far we have not found the right combination of medications and doctors but I keep hoping that they will come. It would be great if he could have the same kind of experience you had.

My son has a prior felony for battery on a police officer when they tried to forcibly take him from his psychiatrist’s office back to the psychiatric ward. We’ve had that one expunged, so I don’t believe we will have the opportunity to have another pre trial intervention as he is currently charged with attempted kidnapping for basically inappropriately approaching a woman in the park, so I am mixed about our strategy from a legal standpoint. Either outcome will present a tougher situation in terms of job prospects, but we are more concerned about keeping him out of prison and getting him well at this point.

Again, thank you so much for your input. It has given me a surge of hope.


Thank you so much for your response. I was concerned because they transferred him out of jail to the hospital with out letting us know where he was being transferred. We finally tracked him down and now have a social worker that we can contact. Thanks for the advice about getting a release signed too. I remember we had to do that on a few brief previous stays at the psych ward. I am going to get that started today.

Wishing you all the best for you and your son, hope all goes well in the end. Take care!

Tonight, I am desperate again and looking for answers, so this was reassuring that I am not the only one in this state.thank you for sharing. My son committed arson 6 months ago and was admitted to a great unit. Diagnosed at last. He can’t be charged till he is well and that will be months. Ill whilst he committed the crime and we begged for sectioning weeks before. Whose fault is that? We tried. We are reassured that his MH will be a factor but can’t be sure . Little progress in 6 months. We still await
charging . As a family, we can’t cope with this any longer. We will be fragmented soon. I don’t know how to help. He still does not believe he has MH problems. Are there occasions when there is this denial,even after 12 months? I am so scared for my son. He is a good person. Just sick. Does a court really take this into consideration?

Alot of people take much longer to gain insight into their illness. My son took years. My family became fragmented because of this. The best thing is for everyone to stick together and support each other. I know thats hard, but really is critical for the person suffering. A strong support system is crucial for all of you. @Mark, son had a lot of charges on him also. He wound up in Mental Health court. They gave him a case manager that helped him with so much. Food card, SSI-SSDI, set up a payee and helped him find a place to live. I dont know if you have that in your area. Check your area for NAMI which is a support group for the whole family.

Thank you all for you support and advice. It has really given me hope. I will check in from time to time to give an update and to offer any advice I can on some of the mistake and things that have gone as well as could be expected over the past 2 years.