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Leeland's run: A question of mental health treatment

April 08. 2013 7:45PM

Leeland Eisenberg, the man who took hostages at Hillary Clinton's Rochester campaign headquarters in 2007 by strapping flares to his body and threatening to blow himself up, walked out of a Manchester halfway house on Sunday. He was in a work release program because the state Department of Corrections deemed him no threat to the public. He was back in custody Monday.

We don't know whether Eisenberg is a threat. We do know that he considers himself at least a potential threat, which is why it is troubling that he was in a situation in which he could just walk away.

In a column submitted to this newspaper in February (but not published), Eisenberg wrote that he got excellent mental health care in prison and concluded that such treatment could prevent another Newtown.

"I'm Leeland Eisenberg, I know from where I speak," he wrote. "I am a state prisoner with mental illness and a receipient (cq) of this treatment, who's (cq) success will be measured by the harm I don't cause in the future."

The implication was clear: he would harm people if his treatment were unsuccessful. Is he a threat? Who knows? Unpredictable people act unpredictably. The more pressing question is: How effective is the mental health treatment for those who need it in prison and after release?


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