Monday, May 4, 2015

Echoes!

From the same county that brought you the Jon Massey Case comes a new story of prisoner mismanagement and medication issues.

Nick Nicorvo is a young man with autism. At age 15 this honors student brought a gun into school, in a gun case covered with a blanket. This was a response to relentless bullying from about five fellow students, and Nick was going to kill himself in front of those bullies so that they would never forget what they did to him.

With no prior record, Nick was charged as an adult for this offense. NO PRIOR RECORD and AN HONORS STUDENT, yet treated as though he was a long-term violent offender, rather than a victim of repeated persecution that was unaddressed.

If you are familiar with autism and autism spectrum disorders, they frequently are managed with medications to help these children/young adults maintain as normal a life as possible.

Nick has been incarcerated for 221 days straight, and despite the fact that he has a medically diagnosed condition recognized as a legitimate disability, he has only seen a psychiatrist twice during that time period.

Additionally, the medical professional prescribing Nick's medication has never actually met with him or examined him.

Initially, the Jefferson County Correctional Facility claimed that his meds (Abilify, Zoloft, and Benadryl) were too expensive, so his mother provided her own insurance coverage to ensure that he was receiving what a professional recommended for him.

Despite the fact that this insurance covers his meds, the correctional facility often "runs out" so that he doesn't receive doses as prescribed.

To add insult to injury, they have Nick in a "stripped down" cell - he is only allowed paper and a Bible. Other prisoners are allowed up to three books at a time in addition to a Bible which they can keep full-time, but not Nick.

With autism, those diagnosed often have issues with interpersonal skills and socialization, so they often turn to books as a way of "interacting". However Nick is not being allowed this vital form of release, despite being an avid reader and a fan of science fiction.

The only thing that Nick has been able to accomplish is graduating a full year early with an Advanced Regents Diploma - while incarcerated. The GED instructor had to make arrangements for Nick to use Plato to complete his education because his coursework was far above her ability to help him.

Nick has also been in lock-down mode 23-24 hours a day for the past 42 days, without the ability to socialize, despite being in a "pod" with other youth and inmates with medical disabilities. This placement keeps him from being at risk in a general population, yet to a young person with Asperger's, the promise of friendship has far more impact than the fear of violence. So Nick broke the rules in an attempt to "earn" the friendship of a fellow youth inmate.

The final straw came with a letter his mother received tonight. Apparently these "medical professionals" have seen fit to remove Nick "cold turkey" from his Zoloft. As with any other SSRI psychiatric med, the recommended protocol is to wean someone off it over a period of months. Nick was on a 200 mg dose, and reducing by 10% at a time would mean that it would take about two and a half months under a doctor's supervision.

The plan was to stop Nick's dose of Zoloft completely on May 1st, and his mother was never informed. She only found out from a letter he sent her that arrived in the mail today. Nick is only 17 (just turned on March 4) - still a minor in the eyes of New York State, and his custodial parent wasn't informed of this major change in his medications, despite the fact that she is the one who is footing the bill.

And Nick and his mother continue the wait for trial - it has now been almost 475 days, with Nick incarcerated for 221 days (the first nine months were spent at a regional psychiatric facility).

Meanwhile, Nick has been judged as being guilty and is being held in an institution that is not only unable, but obviously unwilling, to meet his psychiatric needs.

Not only does "innocent until proven guilty" no longer exist, it is grounds for subjecting those incarcerated to punishments that far exceed any alleged crime.

It is time to stand up, speak out, and expose corruption!






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