Most Inmates With Mental Illness Still Wait For Decent Care

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half his life alone in a prison cell in Illinois — 22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

“It was pretty broke down — the whole system, the way they treated us,” says the 43-year-old Rasho, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including severe depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Rasho says little things would trigger him, and he’d react violently. Although he’d been sentenced to prison initially for robbery and burglary, his sentence was extended over and over for assaults on prison staff.

“Even if they would label us schizophrenic or bipolar, we would still be considered behavioral problems,” Rasho says. “So the only best thing for them to do was keep us isolated. Or they heavily medicate you.”

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