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Crazy, By Pete Earley

Decent Essays
Due to the wide variety of populations that social workers interact with throughout their careers, it is important that they are knowledgeable about the unique lived experiences of their clients. It is also pertinent that social workers are informed about the overarching systems that their clients are involved in, as well as the policies that have a significant influence on their clients’ lives. In his book, Crazy, Pete Earley has presented a detailed examination of a population that he has a personal connection to: individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). Earley, a former news reporter, described his experiences interviewing stakeholders in the mental health and criminal justice systems in hopes to shed light on the injustices…show more content…
A majority of the book involves an examination of the debate between advocates for patients’ right to adequate treatment and advocates for patient’s civil rights. Another one of Earley’s major arguments was that jails were not suitable environments for individuals with SMI. He found that inmates were being shuffled between jails, psychiatric hospitals, and courts. Through his observations, and interviews, Earley determined that jails were not equipped to treat individuals with SMI. Thus, these individuals were never actually being rehabilitated. Overall, Earley’s arguments were consistent with the idea that individuals with SMI should be receiving consistent treatment. His personal experiences with his son seemed to have a significant influence on his beliefs about individuals with SMI, as he assumed that individuals with SMI did not have insight into severity of their own mental illnesses. His arguments mostly stemmed from his role as a parent struggling to navigate the mental health and criminal justice systems as a result of a crime committed by his son.

Throughout the book, it is evident that Earley is writing from the point of view of a protective parent. This point of view is obvious when Earley shows compassion, empathy, and understanding towards individuals with SMI and their families. As Earley listened to various troubling stories
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