The US justice system has seriously dropped the ball on this one. A child killer, the child’s own mother, walks free after serving just 3 years in prison for drowning her precious little girl. She was deemed to be not guilty of the crime by reasons of insanity. Now she’s been deemed sane and allowed to walk free, free to kill another child or possibly an adult.
To start this story, we need to jump into our DeLorean and travel to 2010. Alexandria Bigham (3) was found unconscious by relatives in the bath tub at her home just southwest of Modesto, CA. Her egg-donor, Jennifer (23) was found locked in a bedroom with self-inflicted stab wounds. Funny how they never seem to stab just deep enough to actually mean it? Relatives called 911 and little Alexandria was air-lifted to hospital, where she gained her angel wings a few hours later. Jennifer admitted to drowning Alexandria in the bath. She underwent psychiatric evaluation and the judge ruled her not guilty by reason of insanity. She was placed in jail where she refused to co-operate with prison guards and police officers.
Fast forward to 2013: Jennifer is now 26, young enough to produce more children for her to kill. She has undergone more psych testing which ruled that she was “sane” and therefore free to go out into society. WTF?? She killed her daughter because she was insane! Mental problems do not go away on their own, they’re only kept at bay with medications and psychiatric treatment! I highly doubt she got any of these while she was in the slammer! So anyhoo, she’s out and free. But she’s not free from criticism and condemnation of her peers. Prosecutors are already planning to appeal this appalling decision, with deputy district attorneys saying she’s a danger to society and that she hasn’t been evaluated properly. The cute little twist at the end is that under double jeopardy, she can’t be tried for the same crime twice. So what’s it going to take to get her back into jail where she belongs? Does another innocent child have to die at her hands?
The treatment of mental health issues has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. Both Australia and the US have similar problems – that there just isn’t enough money and resources to go around. 30 years ago, Jennifer would’ve been locked up in a mental institution where they would’ve forced her to take medication and been kept away from society in an environment that was safe for her and others. But no, apparently institutionalising mentally ill people was “cruel” and “inhumane”. Now we often have people with undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses who pose a danger to themselves or to other people. People who refuse to take medication and whose families have given up on them for their own safety and sanity. There needs to be a better way of handling people who are a clear danger to society.