Care home managers had 94-year-old woman thrown in jail because she forgot to pay $161
Juanita Fitzgerald had never been in trouble with the law until the care home managers called the police on her, despite her attempts to resolve the issue.
Juanita Fitzgerald, who had lived a law-abiding life, never anticipated living up to 94 years of age. Nor did she ever anticipate spending her birthday behind bars. Yet, that’s exactly what occurred.
The reason behind Juanita Fitzgerald’s imprisonment is disputed by herself and the managers of her former care home, Franklin House. According to the care home managers, Fitzgerald refused to pay rent for three months and expressed an expectation of her imminent death. However, Fitzgerald denies these allegations and claims that she simply forgot to pay and attempted to do so later, but the managers refused to accept the money. She suspects that the managers were trying to get rid of her due to her advanced support needs.
Fitzgerald said that she had been facing attempts to evict her from the care home for several years by its staff.
When Fitzgerald was 93 years old, she had several medical needs that some of the staff members at the care home were unwilling to assist with. When she missed a payment one month, they used it as an opportunity to evict her.
Initially, the care home managers presumed that Fitzgerald would make arrangements for a different place to stay after they declined to accept her payment.
However, despite the refusal to leave her room, Fitzgerald continued to face pressure from the care home managers to pay up.
As time passed, the care home managers grew increasingly insistent that Fitzgerald vacate her room. However, since they had refused to accept her payment, she refused to leave. Despite her protestations, the managers eventually called the police.
Upon arrival, the police reportedly did not take into consideration Fitzgerald’s explanations and only heard the care home managers’ account. They asserted that the elderly woman, who had resided at the care home since 2011, was trespassing.
Instead of listening to Fitzgerald’s account, the police officers immediately took action and handcuffed her.
So instead of complying with the officers, Fitzgerald resisted and ended up falling to the floor. The officers forcefully picked her up and dragged her out of the care home, causing bruises on her arm.
When the police officers drove Fitzgerald to the Lake County Detention Center, she realized for the first time that she was going to be jailed.
After being taken to the Lake County Detention Center, Fitzgerald, at 94, found herself as the oldest inmate in the facility. The experience of incarceration was new to her, and it was an ordeal for her to adjust. Some of the other prisoners had led troubled lives and had seen some terrible things. They were horrified to see a gentle, elderly woman being treated as if she were a dangerous criminal.
Fortunately, Fitzgerald was able to reach out to one of her friends in the following days, who drove to the jail, paid her bail and secured her release.
After her release from jail, Fitzgerald stayed with her friend during the holiday season while she searched for a new place to live and prepared for her court appearance. She was charged with trespassing.
A public outcry arose after news of Fitzgerald’s mistreatment became known, with people expressing their outrage to those in authority.
Before Fitzgerald’s court appearance, a State Attorney Office employee with some common sense dismissed the trespassing charge.
Unfortunately, Fitzgerald faced difficulties in finding a new place to live and ended up staying in a motel. Even though the local government attempted to assist her in finding a suitable care home, she had lost all trust in authority by then.
I hope she quickly have found a suitable new place of care that can take care of her for the rest of her life.