Katja Ridderbusch is an Atlanta-based journalist who reports for news organizations in the U.S. and her native Germany. Her stories have appeared in Kaiser Health News, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today and several NPR stations.
Every couple of weeks, police in Americus, a small city in Southwest Georgia, respond to trouble at the home of the same young man. The man goes through psychotic episodes, sometimes violent ones. He’s on the autism spectrum and has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Research has long shown that solitary confinement — isolating prisoners for weeks, months, years and sometimes decades — has devastating effects on their physical and mental health.
Police departments have been forced to reckon with charges of systemic racism, with their values, training and hiring practices criticized. Officer resignations have spiked, and morale has plummeted.
COVID has made life for people with autism more difficult because the pandemic directly affects social functioning and everyday routines. But individuals on the spectrum have also experienced pleasant changes