“Why was Brett so well thought of?”asked Detective Barnes.
“ Mostly because he was what is known in residential care as a high functioning client. He was one of our clients that I had predicted would probably have a good chance of living on his own in six months to a year,” said Rick.
“What was preventing Brett from living on his own?”
“Brett needed to reassess who he choses as friends. While he was in high school he got in with the wrong crowd. In grade eleven he took an auto technology course and ended up befriending some guys who were into dealing drugs and stealing cars. As Brett got more involved with these guys he managed to get himself a criminal record. At his hearing the judge declared Brett to be NCR.”
“NCR? Not criminally responsible?”
“Yes,” answered Rick.
“Why do you think his peers at the center liked him so much?” inquired the detective.
“Brett had excellent people skills. His two parents are very educated people. They are both university professors in the United States. Brett was also a leader and was level headed. He’s very patient with the other guys. He’s not a push over, but he’s usually willing to help the other guys out. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s physically fit and has a strong build as well.”
“He sounds more functional than a lot of people walking the streets right now,” concluded the detective. “ So if he could learn to stay away from his sleazy friends on the outside, he would probably be good to go.”
“We would have to be reasonably sure that he would take his meds too when he was released from our program. From what I’ve read in his files, Brett is a much different guy when he’s off his meds.”
“In other words he could be a danger to himself or others.”
“Rick, you said that the majority of the residents liked Brett. Which ones didn’t?” asked Detective Barnes.
“There are two guys on the floor that resent Rick,”
“Who are they? Simon Kent and Matthew Richards,” answered Rick.
“Why do they resent Bret?” asked Barnes.
“They resent him because they can’t control him. He is not intimidated by them and he won’t play their game,” Rick explained.
“What’s their game?”
“Controlling the others residents in the facility. Simon is the leader and Matthew is just his follower. I think that Matthew felt he would be a lot safer if he became a friend to Simon,” added Rick. “Of course, there is a price to pay for being Simon’s friend. If you’re his friend you must never criticize or question him and you must always do what he says.”
“In other words surrender your individuality to Simon.”
“For the most part, yes,” answered Rick. You see a mental health treatment facility is much like a prison in some ways. The residents often feel like inmates. Our counselors and residential care workers often function like guards in a penal institution. They regulate the schedules and lives of their clients for the most part. There are set times for several of the resident daily agendas. Meals are always at the same time, medications are given out at a certain time. There are set times for life skills classes and recreation periods. And we can’t forget curfews.”
Detective Barnes shook his head. “ A structured routine is part of the the treatment plan.