something like that. So what he did was just put three of the things together that gave him a much better percentage, see?” One of Garmon’s cherished dreams is that some day pre-sentence investigations will be mandatory. “If we could just get this made mandatory, the investigation after people are found guilty, it would improve justice enourmously. So often we sentence without knowing what we’re doing. “Now take Beauchamp. We might start with the State Hospital. Or we might send him to MH-MR for outpatient care. A lot depends on whether he has a job, a family, how much supervision he needs. You need to know all that before you sentence someone. He may need a half-way house with limited supervision. The Austin Rehab Center has one for alcoholics. Or we could send him to A.A. You have to look at the whole person, not just the one specific problem that finally landed him with the law.” Garmon’s office operates with a team of workers for each parolee. The teams consist of one parole officer \(usually with a paraprofessional. They try to balance the teams male-female. In addition, they try to get a friend-advocate of the probationer involved and volunteers working on a one-to-one basis. Garmon’s office has six teams doing treatment and three doing pre-sentence investigation. There are some 2,500 people on probation in Travis County. “We think the maximum a team can work with is 125 people,” he said. “Obviously, some of them are less trouble than others and some are even no trouble at all. But when you get people with poor motivation that takes time.” But Garmon is stubbornly optimistic about what can be accomplished. “They say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. In this field, that’s not true. If you lead these people to help, they’ll drink all right. They know they need help: what we do is help them get it.” Garmon is proud of the fact that 88 percent of “his” probationers make it through parole, as opposed to a statewide average of about 80 percent. Less than 10 percent of those who make it through probation get into further trouble. When Garmon was asked what he’d do if he had all the money he needed to set up the best program possible, he gasped and muttered that he was almost afraid to think in those terms, afraid to dream, because he’d have to wake up. A good statewide parole system is one of the top items on his dream list. Another is ways to make the criminal justice system less isolated from the community, ways to get people involved, volunteers, public education, public understanding. After that, he puts up a short little shopping list of half-way houses with various types of programs, speeding up the system so the sentence is closer to the offense, a court residential center, money for contractual services so you can buy for people things like psychiatric treatment and vocational training. He’d get a big, fat research program started and … oh, there are lots of things Garmon could do, if he only had a way to do them. IN AN OFFICE next door, D.A. Bob Smith was wrestling with the more grubby realities of inadequate programs. He was considerably depressed because he’s just sent a retarded kid, actually a young man, off to the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane. The kid’s sole offense was that he had stolen, on three separate occasions, one jar of instant coffee. Smith summed up the kid’s problem in his own inimitable fashion. “The trouble is, this kid has got a very low marble count. So low, they can’t even get a reading on him. He’s been in the state school for the retarded most of his life. He’s perfectly tractable, not violent, no trouble except for one thing. He’s hung up on coffee. He absolutely has to have coffee about once every 15 minutes. They had a change of administration out there at the school and the kid’s coffee schedule got messed up. He couldn’t stand it. He jumped the wall and broke into Rylander’s grocery store over there. He took one jar of instant coffee. There’s a silent alarm in the store. The police got him before he got out the door. They took him to the State Hospital. The people there gave him right back to the State School, said he wasn’t a mental case, he was just retarded. On Sept. 6, it happened again: he broke into Rylander’s and took a jar of coffee. The people at the State School said they couldn’t hold him. They’re not a security facility. On Sept. 22, it happened again. So we had him committed to Rusk and there he sits with all the murderers and rapists and armed robbers who are nuts. For stealing three jars of coffee. There was no place else to put him. My only consolation is that his marble count is so low he’s oblivious to it all.” Smith is convinced that the state needs some security facility for mental cases. He is a great fan of Dr. Margaret Sedberry’s, as is everyone who knows the lady. Dr. Sedberry has pioneered in the open ward concept at the state hospital. “Dr. Sedberry tells me she’s got 300 patients out there. About 10 of them jump every month, steal cars and try to get back to Houston or wherever they’re from. Dr. Sedberry says she’ll be darned if she’ll let me ruin the treatment and progress of her 290 other patients just because 10 of ’em jump. She says those open wards are the first step toward getting past the Dark Ages in mental care. But I sure do wish we had someplace to keep those 10. They cause me a bunch of trouble.” Sedberry, a tiny dynamo who radiates warmth and enthusiasm, laughs sympathetically over the problems the jumping 10 cause her friend the D.A. But behind her sympathy is a granite determination and … fear. Fear that the 10 jumpers will finally outweigh the 290 patients who so slowly open up, begin to join, interact, do, participate and recover. Fear because the only publicity the State Hospital gets is when something goes wrong. Fear of the public’s fear and ignorance of people with mental and emotional problems. And the terrible fear not just of the 100 jumpers who only steal cars, but fear that someday one patient, just one patient, will go and hurt someone and then … BUT MOST of the time Sedberry is too busy to be afraid. “People have this idea that you have to spend all your time getting mental patients down off the walls,” she laughed. “But the truth is, you have to spend most of your time trying to get them to do or say anything at all. Many of them are so regressed they just sit.” Sedberry and her work at the State Hospital are worth a story or two by themselves. Suffice it to say that the difference between the lock wards at the hospital and the open wards is startling. December 15, 1972 13 CLASSIFIED BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, P.O. Box 28-1, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. MARJORIE A. DELAFIELD TYPING SERVICE: Theses, dissertations, manuscripts, reports, etc. I.B.M. Selectric II typewriters, m ultili thin g, mimeographing, addressing envelopes. Public Notary. 25 years experience. Call 442-7008, Austin. WE SELL THE BEST SOUND. Yamaha pianos, guitars; Moeck-Kung-Aulus recorders; harmonicas, kalimbas and other exotic instruments. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. 478-7331. THURSDAY DISCUSSION GROUP meets at noon weekly at the YMCA, 605 North Ervay in Dallas. No dues. Everyone welcome. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village, 802 Red River, second Monday of each month. From noon. All welcome. CABLE REPORT. Cable television could be a spy in your bedroom. It may also allow you to shop from your living room. We are the only people reporting on the development of this industry from the citizen’s perspective. $7 per year. 192 North Clark Street, Room 607, Chicago, Illinois 60601. Two samples, $1. LAST CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS. NRA Blue Eagle flies anew emblazoned on a heavy-duty Christmas sweatshirt for Democrats who have everything! $6.95 each, includes tax and postage. State size: med., lg., ex-lg. Water World, Inc., 402 Riley Road, Austin, Texas 78746. THE COOL GUITAR STUDY. Typewritten, privately published. Concerns written music, melody figures, chord abbreviation, diatonic harmony, clock intervals, tabs, five line ledger and codes, the chromatic ledger. Send $1.50 to Tom Small, R.R. #2, Box 9, Kankakee, Illinois 60901.
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