(July 7, 2010)
Some 218,000 men and women with severe psychiatric disorders are incarcerated in an American prison or county jail. Most committed violent crimes — sometimes murder — while propelled by a crazed mind untreated with medications and therapeutic care. Cherry Blossoms & Barren Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell, is such a story. My work explores the life of Rebecca Bivens, who beat her five-year-old stepdaughter to death. In 1998, a jury found Rebecca guilty but mentally ill, and sentenced her to life in prison.