Title: One Bounced and Tripped Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
(Adapted from “Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Sentencing,‘ Anderson text)
Harry Farrell of Boca Raton, Florida was arrested for the 19oth time; this time for
Farrell, 46, allegedly asked a male driver for a ride outside a Starbucks. He then
reportedly became belligerent and yelled, “I’ll blow your brains out.” When Farrell put a
hand into his waistband the motorist drove off and called police.
Farrell’s rap sheet included loitering and prowling, disorderly intoxication, shoplifting,
drug possession, and criminal mischief. Rather than criminal offenses, these offenses
appear to reflect a person with mental health problems. In fact, Farrell is bipolar, a
mental illness that causes people to swing from severe depression to extreme highs-
Once you understand Farrell’s mental health history, you might see his rap sheet in a
What began as simple and straightforward turns into an example of one of the
toughest, most complex problems we face as a society: What do we do with the
mentally unstable who break minor laws? Does your county or region have the benefit
of a mental health court? If so, share with us the details of how offenders are diverted
to this court- Answer the questions below-
1) What actors are responsible for determining if both Farrell and society are not
ultimately benefitted from his short stints in jail following the petty crime arrests?2) If a judge WERE to thoughtfully sentence Farrell to an alternative or
sentence, how would they know that his situation required it? What mechanisms exist
to warn judges?
3) Discuss perceived costs, both tangible and not, of Farrell being arrested and
incarcerated 190 times versus attempts at alternative sentencing.