Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry sign

“If the physician presumes to take into consideration in his work whether a life has value or not, the consequences are boundless and the physician becomes the most dangerous man in the state.” Dr. Christoph Hufeland (1762-1836)

Before Reynoldsburg police broke down the door to her home November 19, 2015, Linda Leisure, long-time corruption investigator and whistleblower, thought she had seen it all – including previous police break-ins into her home. But she had no psychiatric history and never before witnessed “forced psychiatry” Ohio-style.   

  Earlier that day, during a verbal argument with a police officer at her home, Leisure cursed him for ignoring her complaints about harassment she was suffering from Columbus police officers Delmar and Steve Knotts, one who lived across the street from her Reynoldsburg home. Within minutes, a woman identified as a “social worker” came to Leisure’s home. Leisure described the woman as “unprofessional” and that she “looked like a bag lady.” A few minutes of discussion through a partially-opened door led the “social worker” to diagnose Leisure with “a mood disorder,” according to police records.

  When Leisure refused to leave her own home at the woman’s insistence, armed police broke down her rear door and took her by force – first to Netcare, then to the Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry (OHP).

  OHP is a for-profit former nursing home on Greenlawn Avenue that opened in 2004 with 14 beds and has recently expanded to 130 beds.

  When Leisure told psychiatric employees she knew her rights, as she was a whistleblower, OHP personnel told her this was a “delusion.” Leisure is in fact a whistleblower, having conducted three investigations that uncovered previously buried information – in the still unsolved Arthur Shapiro murder committed the night before he was to testify before a federal grand jury, another investigation that led to the resignation of the Ohio Public Defender, and a third exposing hidden reasons behind the uprising at the Lucasville prison. Cover stories were written about her in The Dayton Daily News,  Columbus Alive and The Columbus Free Press.
  Leisure has been targeted by the Knotts brothers and their police allies, who have been waging a vendetta against her since at least the early 2000s. Their attempts to convict her of some 68 minor offenses in Franklin County Municipal Court slowed down some when a Columbus jury acquitted her of all charges. But even as her jury was deliberating, a Columbus prosecutor began preparing new charges, duplicating the current charges. Eventually a special prosecutor and out-of-county judge were called in and vindicated her, thereby ending that particular battle. Or so Leisure thought.

  What she did not realize is that government policy makers and enforcers are finding that the targeting of political opponents, dissidents or any “undesirables” is far easier with psychiatry as a weapon rather than criminal law.

17 Days of Hell

  Once Leisure had arrived at OHP she was told to cooperate or she would “never get out.” What ensued, she describes as “17 days of hell…something that I never thought I would see in America.”

   Leisure has always kept her body drug-free, but she submitted in terror to OHP’s psychotropic drugs after the first week of lockup. “They said I was depressed and delusional and put me on drugs. But I was neither,” Leisure said. She claims that OHP staff pressured her to sign documents without reading them first, under the threat that if she didn’t cooperate it was a sign of her mental illness. She was forced to attend what she deemed were five-hour daily “conditioning meetings” where she had to accept their analysis of her mental illness. “One of them included coloring books,” Leisure said, “You were forced to do it, or they wouldn’t let you out.”

 Leisure asked to see a psychiatrist or psychologist at Netcare, but they would not let her. After she was transferred to OHP, she was allowed to speak with a nurse practitioner just for ten minutes, “…but she didn’t have time for me, didn’t listen to me,” Leisure stated, “I did not get to tell my side of the story. I tried to talk to people, but they just passed right by me in the hall.”

  As she went through the halls to the cafeteria at OHP. Leisure was appalled to see patients in their 90s as well as young children. One elderly woman was given 11 pills at a time and had trouble eating. “She couldn’t put a fork in her mouth without falling asleep,” Leisure reported, “so I had to help her eat.”

  Children and the elderly were being lined up to be sent for electroshock, probably at central Ohio’s primary “shock shop” – OSU’s Harding Hospital. Electroshock, a procedure said to “work” by causing brain injury, is often imposed multiple times in a single week. Even one session can cause death and permanent memory loss.

  A push by the big pharmaceutical companies for earlier diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in minors is captured in a recent New York Times article “Still in a Crib, Yet Being Given Antipsychotics.” A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on anti-psychotic drug use in the elderly found that, “The FDA has approved antipsychotics for treatment of certain mental disorders, particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, yet the majority of the people in the study had no such diagnosis…. only around 20 percent had a recorded mental disorder or dementia diagnosis during the year.”
  Just as some do not survive the criminal system, mental patients commonly do not survive government psychiatry due in part to its forced drugging, “psycho-surgery” (the modern day equivalent of lobotomy) and electroshock, now called ECT. Currently only the state of Texas is legally required to document deaths caused by electroshock and then only those occurring during the first two weeks.   


Forced drugging  

  The United Nations considers forced drugging to be torture. Forced drugging also meets the federal definition of torture under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340, defined as causing mental anguish by subjecting the victim to “mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.” This disruption is the entire purpose of the drugs psychiatry uses since psychiatry is based on attempts to mold personalities to suit some ideal. There are no known federal torture prosecutions under this statute, however. Torture is assumed to happen only in other countries. Yet bizarre torture experiments went on unimpeded for years with CIA support under the supervision of former APA president and Nuremburg expert witness Dr. Ewen Cameron. Klein, N. The Shock Doctrine, Chap.1 (2007, Holt, N.Y.)

  Psychiatry drug deaths are easily passed off as “part of the disease.” It is part of the lore of Ohio’s mental illness agency, Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) to tell patients that “the disease” will take away a third of their lives. But the undrugged “mentally ill” did not used to die at the rate they do now. Psychiatric drugs invariably cause brain damage, sometimes irreversibly. The basal ganglia become enlarged and the cerebral cortex becomes gradually atrophied, a little more each year. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome causes an unknown number of deaths each year, and both Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor SSRI’s and neuroleptics cause akathisia, a feeling of nearly unbearable inner torment. Ohio Rev. Code Sections 5122.23, 5122.44, 5122.45, and 5122.46 authorize OMHAS to deal with the deaths and on-grounds burials of those it puts in psychiatric lockup.  

  The public is conditioned to not care. Corporate media repeatedly attribute random acts of public violence – with or without guns – to “mental illness,” while concealing the documented role that psychiatric drugs play in virtually all public and private violence, without even counting suicides. The public, and even many who are persuaded to “voluntarily” consume these drugs, are not told of the large body of work exposing the government’s own disability statistics showing that, over time, the more the person is drugged the more disabled and the more of a burden to society they become.
  The corporate media does not report the Harvard study documenting the connections between specific psychiatric drugs and acts of violence against others. According to British psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, up to 90 percent of the last decade’s school shootings have been linked to SSRIs, a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

  Disingenuous efforts to confuse adverse drug reactions (ADR’s) and withdrawal effects, including violence and suicide, with “mental illness” have led to the widespread but false belief that the drugs somehow “help” the person taking them not be violent. From that mindset, segments of the public can be more easily persuaded that government use of force is legitimate – at least against others – the “mentally ill.” Once this logical leap has been made, it can seem ludicrous to speak of the legal or constitutional rights for the “mentally ill” – like speaking of the legal rights of farm animals.  

McJustice in kangaroo courts

  Before OHP could commit Leisure, they allowed her a day in court. She was drugged, then ushered into a non-descript building in downtown Columbus where masses of citizens were being processed in what was said to be the probate court. She recalls no one informing her she had rights – only that she had better “cooperate.” Her court-appointed public defender advised her to voluntarily commit herself because the alternative would be probated – being detained in a facility and forced to receive treatment. Judges in Ohio commitment proceedings refuse to enforce state or federal constitutional rights to jury trial in civil cases. This way of losing one’s liberty indefinitely is considered a civil case.    

  Historically, citizens accused of mental illness have also been denied the due process rights typically allowed for those accused of crime. Psychiatry has further advantages for tyrannical governments. Only psychiatry can discredit the opponent with the “mentally ill” label, and with it, the ability to have one’s nemesis quickly and quietly locked away – often indefinitely.

  The probate system can make it amazingly easy for the government to label anyone as “mentally ill” and to lose rights as a citizen – indefinitely. Texas attorney Wayne Ramsay, of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, estimates that the typical involuntary commitment “hearing” takes under five minutes: “…As I and other observers have noted, many judges hearing civil commitments seem to want to get such cases disposed of in a matter of minutes – or even seconds – and would be very annoyed if a defense attorney got in the way of such assembly-line justice. I have seen many civil commitment for mental illness hearings that were one minute or less in duration, with only a few lasting even five minutes, permitting twenty or thirty defendants to be committed in less than an hour.”  
  The burden of proof on the government is said to be much weaker in commitment cases than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required in criminal cases. Worse yet for the person accused of “mental illness,” the nature of what the government has to prove is, by definition, extremely vague and subjective. Government mental health “experts” admit that psychiatric diagnosis is based on nothing scientifically objective. The December 10, 2015 Fourth District Decision took it a step further, finding that no evidence at all need be presented in order to lock up a person indefinitely.

  For a period during the 1970s and 1980s it started looking as if due process for those accused of mental illness in Ohio might become a reality. In Davis v. Hubbard, 506 F. Supp. 915, 926 (N.D. Ohio 1980), a federal judge denounced inhumane conditions at Lima State Hospital, including the 73 percent drugging rate of its patients, which he said “can be justified only for reasons other than treatment – namely, for the convenience of the staff and for punishment.”
  The drugging rate in every state hospital in Ohio is closer to 100 percent now, but no one gets in trouble for patient abuse, not even when drugging patients with several neuroleptics at one time, a sometimes fatal practice frowned on by hospital accrediting agency “The Joint Commission.” In the wave of “de-institutionalization” of the 70s and 80s, when it became unpopular to fund state hospitals, the Ohio Supreme Court recognized In re Fisher, 39 Ohio St. 2d 71 (1974), that involuntary commitment is a massive assault on liberty, whether the place of incarceration is called a prison, a hospital, or a juvenile detention center. Fisher even spoke at least generally about full due process rights for those accused of mental illness.
   Now more Ohio courts ignore Fisher’s ostensible position on due process, refusing, for example, to enforce the Ohio Constitution’s jury trial guarantee. Other states with the identical jury trial right in their constitutions enforce the right in commitment proceedings. Fisher focused more on the right to counsel in commitment hearings but for most, this would mean public defenders. John Oliver’s TV spoof of public defenders, though amazingly accurate, does not address the degree to which public defenders also do even worse when representing those accused of mental illness. Collusion with the prosecutor against the expressed will of the client is typically justified as being “humane.”  

  If a public defender is not already confused by the notion that “treatment” is something helpful for his client, then the judge-made theory that parens patrae justifies it, seals the deal. Under parens patrae, a relic of Anglo-Saxon feudalism found nowhere in state or federal constitutions, Ohio courts justify psychiatric lockup as part of the state’s parent-like authority to look out for the “good” of the citizen – even against the citizen’s will.

  Recent changes to Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 5122.11 now allow citizens to be psychiatrically detained based on the word of “any person” – not just a government psychiatrist as before. The accuser does not even need to have “actual knowledge” – only “reliable information.” Hearsay, in other words. Once locked up and drugged, the accused person may be able to insist on a hearing. If he gets a hearing at all, a government psychiatrist will likely submit a report describing the accused person as having “delusions” or the dreaded “lack of insight.”

Taypayers foot the bill

  Leisure continually tried to be released, but was not allowed. OHP indicated they wanted to keep her 190 days, the amount of time Medicare will cover. She said, “Taxpayers think that it’s helping old people, but corporations are making money collecting Medicare.”

  Financial factors play a striking role in the sudden push in the last 5-10 years to categorize citizens as “mentally ill.” Drug manufacturer profits now surpass the combined profits of 490 of the other Fortune 500 companies. Psych drugs are the top money makers. “Pharma has used its economic power to create an effective lobby, which controls U.S. public health policy as well as watchdog agencies like the Food and Drug Administration,” wrote George Stone, clinical social worker, at
  The financial power of Big Pharma seems quite appealing to state agencies such as OMHAS, which now has increasing power to dole out jobs and influence in Ohio’s booming mental illness industry, fueled since 2013 by billions in federal dollars brought in through Medicaid expansion. Taxpayers foot the bill not just for the drugs but for the infrastructure needed to inflict them. One day in a psychiatric facility costs some $1000 per patient.
  In 2013, a divided Ohio Supreme Court allowed Ohio’s Controlling Board to defy the General Assembly’s previous majority votes against Medicaid expansion. This action brought in some $2.5 billion more in federal dollars to fund more forced psychiatry and other controversial procedures. On October 21, 2013, the Controlling Board, an obscure, unelected board controlled by Governor John Kasich, “voted” as he insisted, right after entertaining the strenuous lobbying of OMHAS director Tracy Plouck. Plouck is planning for taxpayers to pay for more psychiatric lockup while she de-funds those agencies that advocate for patients. As the money gets spent down, state facilities will be incentivized to employ cheaper, less trained labor and to cut other costs of “services” to psychiatric patients – in and outside of hospitals. Real advocacy for patients are already taking a back seat.


Protesting forced psychiatry
  Linda Leisure will never forget her “17 days of hell” at the Ohio Hospital of Psychiatry, holding pills in her mouth so she could spit them out later, her probate hearing she calls a “sham,” and the outrage of being locked up against her will. She worries about the people she saw there being so overly medicated they could not eat properly or sit up and seeing those lined up for electroshock therapy.
  There’s a small group of people fighting against forced psychiatry, drugging and electroshock therapy. On May 16, 2015, the International Day of Protest Against ECT (electroshock) some dozen activists from southern Ohio peacefully gathered on a public street in front of OSU’s Harding Hospital but were met with a display of uniformed security guards assembled around the building. One of the Harding guards threatened the group with arrest, falsely stating that the public street around it was “private property.” Anticipating violence, the group left without protesting – this time. They vow to continue the struggle for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

  Leisure was finally released in December, 2015 through strenuous negotiations and advocacy arranged by her church and other supporters. Despite the warnings from friends and family to look the other way and keep a low profile, Leisure is now more angry than frightened and is committed to warning others that no one is safe in Ohio from forced psychiatry.


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