Regarding the April 6 article, “Assault suspect pleads guilty”:
I have watched my son descend into mental illness for the last 20 years. With the abuse of methamphetamine, his descent became violent.
The school system failed Anthony by passing him through every grade, right up to high school with no academic history whatsoever. Zero credits.
At the age of 12, he witnessed his best friend cut in half by a freight train at Forest Park. Shortly thereafter he began to abuse drugs heavily.
At 16, he was sent to the state penitentiary at Walla Walla for burglary. In the penitentiary, his abuse of drugs continued – anti-psychotic drugs supplied by the state doctors and drugs supplied by other inmates. Anthony spent over a year in solitary confinement while being supplied drugs and left alone in his cell 23 hours a day.
Released after three and a half years, his use of crystal meth caused him to completely lose touch with reality. Fourteen more months behind bars. Upon release, his community corrections officer completely ignored Anthony. I was there, I saw with my own eyes, Anthony again fall through the cracks. I pleaded for help from anyone who would listen, especially his CCO. I sought help from Compass Health. Again and again I was ignored.
One week before the assault, the probation officer found a large hunting knife, a throwing star and a pocket razor. The CCO confiscated the weapons, but didn’t arrest Anthony for possession of these items. Had this CCO done his job, that young mother would never have been attacked. Her 6-year-old son wouldn’t have been traumatized by witnessing the attack.
Although I blame the system for a lot of what has happened, I know in my heart this is my failure as a father.
I hope that in the future, this particular probation officer and the criminal justice system will try to work toward rehabilitating youthful offenders instead of throwing them to the wolves.
PHILIP and MARILYN VISCUSSI