Hear ye! hear ye!
NAMI Schenectady holds its next lunch meeting on Thursday, June 14 at 12:30 pm at the Van Dyck Restaurant, 237 Union St., Schenectady. We will have City Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski as our guest to speak to us on the progress of the alternative treatment court at city level. Matt is one of three city court judges, with Mark Blanchfield and Guido Loyola, and he is the one handling the alternative (mental health) court. As such, he hears from people in different degrees of difficulty with some kind of mental illness or drug addiction who the court gives special attention to because of their circumstances. It's been found a poor procedure to process these cases in front of the entire audience of those who appear that day in city Criminal Court, so the alternative court is held in separate chambers at a different time of the day and week. We need to convey to the judge our concerns about the process in which our family members with the illness sometimes do not purposefully commit an act that leads to their arrest. It might instead be the outgrowth of their illness where their behavior is inappropriate. We want to learn from the judge how the court works and how it might work better; what we can do in support of our family member to better represent him or her, and know what to anticipate. And what kind of legal representation is best, particularly when there are serious charges being brought. The courts are serious business and have led to jail and prison sentences that don't do our family member much good in his or her treatment and eventual recovery. Please come to our session on June 14 at the Van Dyck--you don't have to be a NAMI member to attend and you can bring friends or other family members. We're in the second floor dining room at 12:30. (Roy Neville)