Thank you for your reply.
I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. When I look into my resistance to taking medications that might improve my quality of life (and more importantly, the quality of life of my family, my wife, my friends, and the folks who let me be of help to them), I noticed that there is more than a little ego involved. Who am I to put the happiness of others in jeopardy so that I can tinker with my mind? I did that with drugs and alcohol before, and though I felt "happier" through those things, they created a lot of pain and suffering for the people close to me. This is the same thing in reverse: who am I to not-take medications if by so doing I bring harm to the people I love?
The way I see it, my brain is an organ and it's product is the mind and our behaviors. Just as I wouldn't bat an eyelash at taking something for my kidneys, so I shouldn't get hot and bothered about taking something for my brain.
So I'm less concerned with reducing or ending use of my medications, because I'm tackling a physical problem with medications that don't violate the precept on intoxication causing dullness of mind. I'm not doing it "for me," but only so that I don't hurt anyone around me. And the medications actually make my life and my meditation practice better. I'm more social, more interactive; while sitting I don't fall into the sink-hole of blank mind.
The meds used in prisons are the cheapest ones available because the state (here at least, and I'm guessing other states do it too) is legally mandated to purchase the best product and the cheapest price. Thorazine and Haldol are cheap, first-line antipsychotics. So prisoners are given those. It turns them in the undead (complete with drooling!), but then, prisons haven't been about rehabilitation in a really long time.
As for child custody, our system is doing the best it can with the resources we're willing to give to it. Us voters are to blame for that. The legal standards are good and high: the legal presumption is that the child should be reunited with the parents. State custody is generally to be avoided (because it's expensive). Children are given a guardian ad litem, who represents the interest of the child during the proceedings. The state (at least here in Connecticut) must then show by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child to have parents rights terminated ("clear and convincing evidence" is the the standard of proof just underneath "beyond a reasonable doubt"). Federal case law supports this standard.
Clinically-assessed mental age is part of the report drawn up by the forensic psychologist to be used at the trial. This will not usually cover bedwetting or defecation, but rather determines the capacity of the parents to raise a child. For example, one case here in Connecticut involved a child who was not allowed outside and taught Klingon (the Star Trek language) exclusively. The parents weren't insane, but teaching your child only Klingon is not in the child's best interest and, in a way, is abusive.
Or sometimes you have an individual who has both and mental illness and well as retardation. One of my old clients was like this, and he had a kid, and his parental rights were suspended for good reason: the guy had a lower mental age than his cohorts. He suffered from a bunch of deficits, such as impulsivity and an inability to draw abstract conclusions. The standard one: People in glass houses should not throw rocks. What does this mean? He was unable to allegorize, and so gave a literal answer: people in glass houses should not throw rocks. These deficits, along with his mental illness and history of substance abuse, are important determinations presented at the trial to determine whether custody should be restored or not.
The problem that you're identifying isn't so much about bad psychology/psychiatry, or even a collusive agreement between big Pharma, shrinks, therapists, etc. It boils down to a broken system. Foster-parents who shouldn't be foster-parents become foster-parents because they get a check from the state. It's a way for them to earn money, rather than being a sacrifice made to help out a child in need. This is, of course, more true amongst the poor, and unfortunately poverty and drugs and gang-warfare and junk-food and rape and abuse and violence all go hand in hand.
And the reason the system is broken, simply put, is us. We'd rather have gigantic TVs than pay a little more in taxes to help our fellow human beings (let alone sentient beings altogether). Reducing poverty would do a lot for our country. But until then, the system remains broken.
Before I started law school, I worked as a counselor to people with severe mental illness and substance abuse problems. Our program, in order to receive funding from the state and the Fed to pay us, required that log 40 hours a month of face-time with the clients, talking about their recovery.
That's all fine and dandy except that some clients did not want to speak with us. They had legitimate reasons, I should add, like voices telling her I was the devil (last time I grow a goatee). So our agency stooped to bribing clients into chats with Dunkin Donuts giftcards, free cigarettes and the like.
The clients would then respond by telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. They knew/thought that after the hour was up, I would go write down what they said and I would get off their backs. After a little while I realized what was going on and so I just stopped. The clients were getting an earful of rehab/recovery through the local mental health catchment. I realized that talking about rehab/recovery over and over again would bother me, too.
Now, I can understand why the system is the way it is. 40 hours ensures that the governments (state and Fed) are getting a quality return on the money the governments lay out. It makes perfect sense on paper. It just doesn't produce results. Clients don't want to spend one more day talking to somebody about how they messed up and what they're doing to prevent that from re-occurring. So either they feed you a line of bullshit or they simply refuse to talk at all. So the clients don't get the help they need and the counselors get an earful from the boss for not getting the hours.
I don't think you need to go as far as greed. I think simple ignorance is plenty good on its own. The people who enter the field genuinely want to help, but quickly become disillusioned and powerless.
No doubt the system has its share of well-meaning employees. The entire system is built as a criminal system based on greed. Those 40 hours didn't just fund you - they funded the others (40 x, 40 x, etc.), who keep the whole little empire running, and the whole system is designed to keep empires, small, large, running.
The solution is altruistic economics, and how to actually implement something like that is beyond me, but I can post some links if you like. There was a recent conference with the Dalai Lama...
The way the system is set up, you and the clients were all pawns. So many people are used/abused. It's the wrong way to think about people - people as exploitable props. Factory production lines. Profit is the bottom line.
Ignorance is the source of all suffering. Worse than anger, the teachers say. When we understand that, we will all sit, like rocks, like mountains, unshakable, until we rid ourselves of our ignorance.
May all beings be happy.
We all have issues, feelings and problems that seem at times to border on what could be termed as being a mental illness. We have to be mindful and disciplined in order to keep ourselves focused, balanced and reasonably sane, whether we are incarcerated or not....We have to remember, as simplistic as it may sound, that all prisoners were once children and free. In my day to day living as a free man I see and meet people who are troubled and through nothing more then ignorance could get themselves into trouble that could get them incarcerated.