It ‘s been a long ordeal for the Williams family, having to watch as their son who lives with Down Syndrome got caught up in the legal system. The ordeal that’s lasted 17 months placed a strain on the Williams family, which fought efforts by authorities to declare their son competent to stand trial for several crimes including arson.
Jim and Tammy Williams were devastated. Early in this mess they we’re very critical of the District Attorney’s Office and how their son was handled. According to Jim Williams, “it seemed like they were hell bent on sending him to prison.”
A lot has changed since I first visited the family. The state has stepped in, making recommendations for ongoing treatment and taking an aggressive role in getting Jimmy in a setting where he can gain training and job skills his parents had hoped for since he entered his teens. At age 25, old Jimmy is now getting the help available for special needs families with children living with Down Syndrome.
After spending time in a facility near Buffalo, Jimmy has been returned to the Syracuse area. In a halfway house setting, Jimmy is now getting the assistance he needs. He’s able to go out of the facility on supervised outings. He’s getting training from ARC of Onondaga. With assistance, Jimmy’s becoming a part of our community again.
Jim and Tammy want to thank those who cared for and about Jimmy and offered the family encouragement as they wound their way through the criminal justice system.
Understanding the district attorney’s office has a difficult job, Jimmy’s dad wants to thank the D.A. and their attorney, Sam Beardsley, for how the case was ultimately resolved. In this situation, intervention from the state working with the district attorney’s office provided the structure of treatment enabling Jimmy to be placed in a facility where his family can visit him regularly.
The Williamses would like others to avoid living through what they’ve just experienced. They encourage people who have special needs children to meet with authorities, work tirelessly to make sure they have opportunities that will carry them into adulthood.
According to Jim Williams, “We’re just glad to have him back and he seems to be happy where he is now, learning skills and preparing for his future.”
Jimmy also wanted to make sure that anyone who has children living with any disability seeks surrogacy status for the parent. This enables the adult to intervene when and if the individual in question is affected by legal issues they may not be able to understand.