The traditional view of criminals is that they are, well, criminals. According to many, people intentionally break laws for selfish, personal reasons. Things like mental illness or “making a statement” are just excuses. This attitude is especially prevalent in extremely violent crimes. If a group of people hijack airplanes, and fly them into occupied buildings, and claim they’re making a political statement, very few people will see their actions as justified.
But attitudes are changing. Many people now view crimes, especially nonviolent crimes, as mental health or mental wellness issues. In recognition of July being Social Wellness month, we will explore this topic as it relates to arrests. Recently, the city of Denver rolled out the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program. Over six months, team members responded to about 750 trespass, narcotics possession, and other similar disturbance calls. All these calls were resolved without an arrest, involuntary commitment, or any other further incident. Because of this program, we have “a safer community and you have better outcomes for people in crisis,” remarked Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen. This type of social wellness response to police incident calls clearly shows a reduce in arrests.
Wellness issues also affect the arrest process. If there are indications that the defendant has some social wellness issues, the pretrial release system usually kicks into high gear. Several mentally disturbed people have died in police custody over the past several years. No department wants that kind of publicity. But this sympathy only goes so far.
Mental wellness problems also propose some post-release issues. Simple, everyday tasks like being on time to a check-in appointment could be challenging. At Fizer Bonding Company, our Clarksville, TN bail bonds agents are very aware of such issues. So, we proactively design unique post-release plans which fit your needs. We believe in confronting possible problems before they become bigger problems. We also believe in giving you general advice about the criminal justice system, so you don’t feel alone.
Defining Social Wellness
According to one study, “Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you.” Let’s break these elements down.
Our relationships with family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and other people we see frequently are the foundation of social wellness. These relationships have highs and lows. Frequently, the lows are incredibly low.
Nevertheless, it’s important to keep investing time and effort into these relationships. Usually, people who feel well-grounded socially are less likely to make selfish personal decisions, like the ones hinted at above.
The universe is a lot bigger than your living room. We stand in line at McDonald’s, work with people at a Montgomery County bail bonds company, tell the doctor about our headaches, and the list goes on. Respect is usually the key to social wellness in this area. Respecting people is often difficult, to say the least. So, if all else fails, try to remember Marge Simpson’s advice.
This all sounds fine and well. But how on earth do you build “healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships” and forge “a genuine connection with those around you?” Especially coming out of a worldwide and very long Coronavirus lockdown? We’re glad you asked. Here are a few ideas:
- Make Connections: Relationships don’t just happen. You have to say hello to people you see at the gym. First, however, you have to get off the couch and go to the gym. During these initial interactions, look for things you have in common, as opposed to the things which divide you.
- Be Active Together: Activity enhances social interactions, even if it’s something as simple as having a Coke and a smile. This activity is good for your body as well. The more active we are, the better we feel physically and emotionally, and the easier it is to reach out to people. So, everything is connected.
- Build Healthy Relationships: Most of us know the difference between healthy and harmful foods, and it has little to do with feeling. Fried chicken tastes better than grilled chicken, but it’s not as healthy. Likewise, healthy relationships don’t always feel good, but they are always good for us.
The bottom line is that “mental wellness” is a verb. It’s not a state of being we achieve. It’s something we work on every day.
Do not forget to take care of yourself throughout this process. It’s possible to give until we have nothing left. If a person in your life cannot understand that you need me-time, maybe the relationship isn’t as healthy as it should be.
Some Specific Examples
We recently posted about the relationship between hot weather and assault. There’s also a relationship between mental wellness and assault. Fundamentally, lack of respect causes most of these incidents. If you have stronger and healthier relationships with both yourself and others, and have good overall social skills, the risk of an assault arrest decreases significantly. Unfortunately, this is not always the norm as we are all influenced by challenging upbringings and environments.
The extended court supervision and other punishments, such as a restraining order, are bad enough. Furthermore, an assault conviction is not something you want on your permanent record. If you cannot play nice with others, your employment and other prospects are usually bleak. Finally, assault is a crime of moral turpitude which could have immigration and other long lasting consequences.
DUI is a good example as well. There’s really no such thing as a “social drinker.” If anything, consuming alcohol in public usually ends up resulting in antisocial behavior and activity. Typically, people drink because they don’t have good social skills and the feeling of being “loose and free” while intoxicated is just that…a feeling…but not necessarily reality. If you work on social wellness, you don’t need alcohol to cope or drugs, at least theoretically and this may be easier said than done. It is never a weakness to reach out to the professional community for help.
The direct and indirect consequences of DUI are usually worse than assault. The total cost of a DUI, when considering direct expenses, liek legal fees, and indirect expenses, like higher insurance rates, could be over $25,000.
Assaults and DUIs dominate misdemeanor criminal dockets in Tennessee. In many jurisdictions, these two offenses account for almost three out of four cases. Therefore, social wellness is usually an investment that pays handsome dividends, and we aren;t just talking about money.
For more information about new developments in criminal justice, contact the bail bond office near you at Fizer Bonding Company. Our family-owned bonding service has filled the bonding needs of Montgomery and Robertson Counties for over 40 years. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. For more info about Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds, click here.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
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