Each year, many offenders "max out" of prison, meaning they are released without parole supervision. Returning to their community without parole can be a recipe for failure for severely mentally ill individuals. That's because parole requirements provide them with structured support and housing services.
Lynn Moore, 47, maxed out of prison in July 2008 after serving eight months for burglary. A paranoid schizophrenic, he has a long arrest record in his hometown of Canton, Ohio, and has been in prison several times. Moore maintains that a severe head injury caused his mental illness, and in the past he has not stayed on his medications. When he is off medication, Moore suffers delusions that focus on terrorists. He was arrested for burglary after breaking into a home -- he said he was in search of Osama bin Laden.
Although Moore has family in the Canton area, including his three children, he has a history of alcohol addiction and homelessness and when he was released from prison, Moore took a Greyhound bus to the downtown men's shelter. The following day, he met with his community case manager and therapist and visited the Social Security office.
On September 5, 2008 Moore failed a breathalyzer test at the shelter and per shelter rules, was asked to leave for 30 days. Staff said Moore had been feeling discouraged by the long wait for a housing placement.
In October, Moore was arrested twice in one day for breaking the windows of a home and the window of a trailer. Witnesses said Moore was talking about Osama bin Laden. Moore did not receive medication while in jail and when he was released December 1, he was delusional. He talked of his need to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who was hiding out in a local home. Moore returned to the shelter in Canton but continued to drink and was arrested December 15 for breaking the window of a home.
Moore's community case manager and therapist worked to get him admitted to the nearby psychiatric hospital, and after several weeks he stabilized.
UPDATE: Moore now lives in a group home in Canton and is looking for part-time work. He is sober, more aware of his mental illness and has stayed on his medication. Moore plans to enroll in college and would like to become a social worker.
As of Dec. 3, 2010, Moore has continued to cycle in and out the criminal justice system. He was just released again -- on November 15 -- from the Stark County jail, where he served time for a misdemeanor charge. He is off his medications.