Thursday, May 13, 2010

State's Psychiatric Patient Release Policies Questioned

Several recent incidents involving individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders who were involved in violent crimes or dangerous behavior warrant public discussion on the need to balance the rights of an individual to privacy concerning medical treatment and the public's right to be safe and secure in their homes.

Joseph K. Navas
According to recent news stories, Joseph K. Navas, was indicted for a violent sexual attack of a woman in Mililani, has been committed to the Hawai'i State Hospital at least eight times for treatment of schizophrenia and was last released from the facility sometime after Feb. 11, 2009. The community was not notified of his release because state officials have taken the position that his right to privacy overrides the public's right to know and to be safe and secure in their homes.

Martin Boegel
In another recent case, Martin Boegel, 27, of Makiki, was shot and critically wounded by an off-duty agent on Tantalus Drive when he was seen acting in an aggressive manner while appearing to be armed with a handgun. According to Boegel's mother, her son suffers from a mental disorder that can be controlled by prescription drugs but her son stopped taking his medication. If he is found to be suffering from a mental disorder Martin Boegel may be sent to Kaneohe State Hospital where he may join, Adam Mau-Goffredo.

Adam Mau-Goffredo
He is the person who on the night of July 6, 2006, shot to death taxi driver Manh Nguyen and two bystanders, Jason and Colleen Takamori at Tantulus Lookout. He was also was accused of robbing a home nearby following the shootings. Mau-Goffredo was later ruled mentally unfit to stand trial and is being held at the Hawaii State Hospital.

In each of the foregoing cases, individuals committed violent crimes but have psychiatric conditions that would place them in the care of of the Kaneohe State Hospital. After several patients who had histories of violent behaviors turned up missing from the State Hospital, the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board questioned hospital officials about their ability to secure patients who may pose a danger to the public and we were informed that patients cannot be incarcerated like prisoners since they are there for treatment. When asked if they could do more to inform the public when dangerous patients were released from the hospital we were informed that the patients' right to privacy overrode the public's right to know. Effectively overriding the public's right to be safe and secure in their homes as well. As a resident of Kaneohe and member of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, I am not satisfied with this policy and would like to raise this matter for public discussion. Please share your thoughts regarding the state's balancing of the rights of dangerous mental patients' and the public's right to be safe and secure in their homes.


Anonymous said...

This is bizarre. How can we allow this situation to continue?
Let's not forget that Kaneohe District Park, full of children playing, is across the street.

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