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Global Read

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness

By Pete Earley

Global Read


by Pete Earley

Date: Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 AM PDT


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Cost: Suggested donation $10 US.
We will offer this program free to those whose resources are limited.



Former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley had written extensively about the criminal justice system. But it was only when his own son—in the throes of a manic episode—broke into a neighbor's house that he learned what happens to mentally ill people who break a law.

This is the Earley family's compelling story, a troubling look at bureaucratic apathy and the countless thousands who suffer confinement instead of care, brutal conditions instead of treatment, in the “revolving doors” between hospital and jail. With mass deinstitutionalization, large numbers of state mental patients are homeless or in jail-an experience little better than the horrors of a century ago. Earley takes us directly into that experience—and into that of a father and award-winning journalist trying to fight for a better way.


About the Author Pete Earley

Pete Earley is best-known for his nonfiction book, CRAZY: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness, which was one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. (Crazy refers to our mental health care system.)

His book chronicles his struggle to help his adult son after he develops a severe mental illness and is arrested. His son’s arrest prompted Earley to spend ten months inside the Miami Dade County jail as a reporter where he followed prisoners with mental disorders through the criminal justice system to see what actually happened to them. His book has won awards from the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and prompted CNN to name him one of nation’s top “Mental Wellness Warriors.”

He was invited by President Obama to speak at a White House summit about his son’s illness and recovery. He served for five years as the parent member of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Committee (ISMICC) created by Congress to advise it on federal mental health policy.

A former Washington Post reporter, Earley has appeared five times before the U.S. Congress to testify about the need for mental health reform, has spoken in 49 states and addressed legislators in five foreign countries.

In a Washingtonian Magazine cover story entitled, Top Journalists: Washington's Media Elite, Pete Earley was described as one of a handful of journalists in America who "have the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency."

He is the author of eleven nonfiction books and ten novels, including five New York Times bestsellers. His book Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring, was a five hour miniseries shown on CBS television. For his book, The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison, Earley spent a full year as a reporter inside a maximum-security prison. His book, Circumstantial Evidence, helped free an innocent man from Alabama’s death row and won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice.

Visit Mr. Earley’s his Website.


About the Facilitator Lisa Taliaferro

Lisa Taliaferro's dedication to ensuring that individuals living with mental illness receive proper care instead of being criminalized is commendable. Her personal experience with her son's involvement in the justice system while dealing with mental illness has further motivated her advocacy and support efforts. As a result, she founded Patients Not Prisoners in Florida to continue her mission of advocating, educating, and supporting this cause. In order to ensure that their efforts are successful, Lisa developed this organization using the Measure CARE Model as an evaluation tool. Lisa along with concerned members of the community met for 14 weeks to discuss mental health and the judicial system. The Measure CARE Model focuses on creating sustainable change within communities by engaging community members and providing them with resources so they can advocate for themselves.

Lisa's educational background in Business Organizational Management from Bethel College has provided her with a strong foundation of skills necessary for establishing and running a nonprofit organization.Lisa retired from a 30 year career in Banking and Investment Management. She managed the Trading Department for an International Money Manager in San Diego,CA for 23 years, took a 8 year sabbatical to care for her son and then went on to manage a couple of Bank Financial Centers. During her career in finance Lisa owned two Womens Fitness Franchises for over 10 years. She also authored two books entitled, Bargain Beaters, A Guide to Saving Money. Her diverse experiences and expertise have undoubtedly contributed to her ability to navigate the challenges of running Patients Not Prisoners effectively.

Now retired, Lisa enjoys participating in church activities and Bible study, going on cruises with her husband of 43 years, and spending quality time with her adult children and grandchildren. Patients Not Prisoners is a direct result of Lisa's personal experiences and her unwavering advocacy for her sons and the need for restorative treatment for the mentally ill. She is truly a "Mom on a Mission" and aims to bring about systemic change to prioritize compassionate care for individuals facing mental illness.

Visit Patients Not Prisoners website



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