From the Womb to the Tomb by Carl Toersbijns
We have all read about the draconian conditions of Arizona prisons and how it has revealed the high number of deaths inside their prisons. Specifically, the department experiences a very high suicide rate compared to other prisons in the Southwest. This book singles out a tragic story about the tragic death of Tony Lester. This 26-year-old Native American man suffered from a mental illness that was criminalized because mental illness is still not addressed like it is in other progressive states and prosecutors refuse to offer alternative sentencing and outpatient treatment for those who suffered trauma or behavioral disabilities. In this story, his aunt, Patti Jones, demonstrates a tenacity to advocate for better care after her nephew as given a death sentence because the Arizona prison system failed to treat him according to his court-ordered treatment plan and misidentified him as a weak and manipulative prisoner who was “gaming” the system to get protective custody. A totally false perception based on cultural biases and stigmas targeting those who suffer as seriously ill patients but who are denied mental health treatment in the manner prescribed in other states that appropriately address such crisis management concerns. A culture of death is based on preventable suicides where people died either through lack of care or lack of attention by those responsible for their constitutional rights for adequate treatment while incarcerated and in the custody of the state. Read the Ryan vs. Parsons lawsuit that the Lester family is a litigant and you will see how Tony’s death was addressed by correctional staff leaving much doubt how adequately he was treated. This book is written for families who have mentally ill family members in jails and prisons. They need to be aware of the legal and political ramifications of their family member’s care while in jail or prison. This story is shocking and horrific in content. A video is available on the web to show the failure to provide care when he was found in a dark cell with numerous fatal self-inflicted cuts after experiencing a deadly psychosis while isolated and kept in a detention cell instead of being placed in a treatment center. i hope this book will help others understand the dynamics in his case and relate to it for their own experiences with mental illness and incarceration – something that has exponentially grown since the 1980s because hospitals were replaced with prisons.
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About the Author
Let’s be honest, I am not your typical short story writer who sits down for months at a time and ponders on the first words of a book or novel. I don’t have a fancy study to write in or a luxuriously provided luscious green grass spread high up in the mountains or a far-out hard to reach remote cottage near a very remote hard to get to beach to find my inner peace and begin to write a story.
I write among everyday people. I sit around them to hear their words, expressions, and emotions. I watch and listen to people and because of this, I find myself in tune with my environment. Neither politically correct or a stiff collar shirt wearer, I prefer tee-shirts and shorts when walking around those places that inspire me to describe what I see, feel and hear. I am a creative and visionary person who defies some of those stiff rules of proper editing and storytelling. I am independent of thoughts, emotions and most of all my thoughts on life as it has impacted my life and the life of others.
Some say that I speak as I write and get my words backward sometimes. That’s a flaw that came when I came to the United States as a Dutch Indonesian refugee and learned to speak English as my first language. Therefore, some of my books are some awkwardly titled and sometimes controversial in content but they are are all written for one purpose – to provoke you to think. I am an American citizen, drafted in the Vietnam War and performed my duties as a combat medic with integrity and honor as I was proud to serve with those who volunteered and drafted in this horrific and cruel war. Every award I earned is on my DD214 along with an honorable discharge from the US Army in 1973 after serving two years active duty and three years reserves.
Some books are deliberately short and slightly twisted or dark. I strongly believe that mood and attitude drive the brain. I tried to stay away from profanity but in reality, it is indeed, a part of our daily lives and cannot or should not be filtered.
Others are written to be brief and to the point for those who don’t like long stories and have very little time or short attention spans (sarcasm) so I am the first to acknowledge my writings are different and with your help and reviews provided, I know I will do better and study or amend my books as they are written and read. The fact that I read my reviews is my way of studying what the reader wants, not what the author wants.
I read and take into consideration every review written and received, no matter how harsh these reviews may be as I am used to candidness, sarcasm, and open dialogues as a retired prison warden who has dealt with the “worst of the worst” society could lock up in prison and separate from our communities to serve their time. To be balanced in thoughts and spirit, I know there are injustices in every system out there and it will take time and a change in culture to change the toxicity and injustices to be minimized.
My skin is only as thick as the occasion calls for at the time of the encounter. As most will notice, these books don’t conform to any style. They are usually not politically correct and are for those who call themselves ‘free-thinkers.’ It is my hope, you will challenge my thoughts with your own and challenge yourself to deal with these issues that we face in life together.
My writings whether fiction, non-fiction, and all other genre do not fall into a specific category -why? Because I write what I feel, and that’s a flawed style today as all have to be perfect to please everyone. I understand that concept well. However, I write for myself and those who want to get to know me as a person or author. I am far from perfect, yet I want to express myself at my terms and those others understand without all the political correctness. At the same time, when I do write and receive feedback, I always take that feedback into consideration for the future or to revise or amend what I have already written.
As a reader, you are my editor and you set the tone or tempo/mood for the books. For that, I am eternally grateful. I love people, I respect people and I recognize people like my family as we are all connected one way or another. I write to express what is on my mind. There are no formalities to my thought process. I am spontaneously writing down what I am thinking. My writings are sometimes raw, rude, crude and every other negative in the book business. They are, however, filled with passion, respect, dignity, and love for mankind and the human race. I believe we are all connected.
In my books, there are writings on love, hate, war, peace, wrath, and compassion. I write the reality of the world I live in. It’s not a pretty world but its the real world. I have lived with or around good people and bad people in my life. At work, I was associated with liars, cheats, crooks, perverts and the seriously mentally ill. I am a real person, not superficial but real. I dig for the truth of my life and the things that evolve or impact around me. On the other side of the coin, I write fictional and fantasy short stories to bring a lighter side of life to the reader. I enjoy people, animals, and nature. I strongly advocate for the mentally ill and I donate time and resources for this cause.
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