Homeless’s Hero

You find all kinds of stuff when you have bipolar disorder on your Google alerts. Most of it re-fried, naive, or requiring a subscription to read. If there's a piece about an actual person its either about another celebrity coming out or some sensational, heinous crime committed a Bipolor (even though the incidence of violent crime are no higher in the bipolar population).But there's usually a good find now and again.The Sun Sentinel posted a gem of a story.

Beverly Johnson from Florida is paying the bonds (bail) to get homeless people released from jail.

She was reported "spending $1,641 to pay the bonds of two-dozen inmates being held on minor charges." The inmates were all homeless people who couldn't afford even the small bail required to get them out of the can.

Beverly is a woman with Bipolar disorder who used to be homeless herself. Now after a divorce settlement she's pretty well set up with rental income and a home.

"I did this because I spent time in jail and know what it's like. It's awful in there".Twenty times in there while she was homeless for two years, actually.

The people she sprung were in jail for things like loitering, trespassing and disorderly conduct. And she's done this more than once – many times in fact.

It must be pretty hard to avoid getting in trouble with the police if you're homeless.

You need to trespass to sleep.

You need to loiter to beg for money to eat (I know; or drink)

No more room at the Inn (or Psych unit as it were) so your behavior can get bizarre.

Thing is, I suspect many people believe this is where homeless people belong. You know the old at least they have shelter, food and can take a shower attitude. Bonus here is how pissed off and generally befuddled these people are going to be with Ms. Johnson.

Funny how we've managed to make the mere existence of these people punishable and worse, illegal.Beverly's not circumventing the law. She's merely leveling the playing field so the most disenfranchised people in our cities don't have to rot in jail for not being able to pay their bail-bonds while waiting for trial – where I'm sure with the benefit of underpaid/overworked public defenders they'll receive a fair hearing.

So; laurels to Beverly Johnson, and Robert Noiln (rnolin@sun-sentinel.com) for writing about her.

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