Laura Howard, a teenage girl diagnosed as bipolar and obsessive compulsive, attempted suicide during spring of last year, and the Harris County Sheriff's Office responded to the call. The deputies could have taken Howard to the county's NeuroPsychiatric Center, designed for mentally ill suspects as an alternative to jail, but instead they booked her into Harris County.
The deputies charged Howard with resisting arrest, and she received probation, but about five months later she failed a drug test after smoking marijuana. A judge decided to sentence Howard to six months in New Choices, a rehab program in the jail that requires inmates to be mentally stable when they enter. Unfortunately, Howard was not.
Read about what happened in "How to Save a Life," the feature story in this week's Houston Press, and here's some video of Howard describing her experience.
In this clip, Howard talks about her treatment by the sheriff's deputies during the arrest:
Here, Howard and her mother describe Howard's time at the Harris County jail:
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Howard explains why she prefers marijuana to psychotropic drugs:
-- Paul Knight