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A Reaction to the Film

In the short documentary film, The Released, that was directed by Miri Navasky and Karen O’Connor and was shown in Frontline, a very alarming reality was exposed that revealed the troubling situation that the mentally-ill members of our society have been forced to endure. Of all the reasons that were insinuated in relation to this dilemma, the most evident cause seem to point to the government’s decision in the 1970’s to close all State-run mental facilities in the entire nation; certainly the central basis for Debbie Nixon-Hughes’ observation, that “We went from de-institutionalization to nothing” (Navasky & O’Connor, 2009).

It is indeed very troubling how the mentally-ill, especially those whose families do not possess the financial capabilities to confine them to a private institution, are being forced to an endless cycle of short-term medication and incarceration. This should not have so, if only de-institutionalization was not introduced in the 1970’s.

Apparently, what was hoped to be gained from this action, most of which were bordering on human rights and personal freedom, turned out to be absolute failures, as evidenced by the fact that “within 18 months, nearly two-thirds of the mentally-ill offenders…are re-arrested” (Novasky & O’Connor, 2009). Almost all if not all of the patients in the said film were exhibiting their own symptoms of schizophrenic disorders. This was especially notable in their belief of a spiritual entity, whether demons, angels, or God Himself, who forces them to act abnormally, in respect to the generally accepted societal norms of behavior.

Such was the case of Lynn Moore, wherein he had claimed that “It is no delusion…It was the devil, Antichrist, Bin Laden, Satan, Saddam” (Navasky & O’Connor, 2009) that made him proceed with the criminal acts that he made. Apparently, this kind of delusion experienced by Moore has been quite common, especially for serial murderers, such as the ones we witness in the news. Reference Navasky, M. & O’Connor, K. (2009, July 7). The Released. Frontline. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from <http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/pages/frontline/released/view/

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