Mental illness is not a crime: Instead of jail, use the justice system to help the mentally ill

There is nothing criminal about being diagnosed with mental illness. Nevertheless, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 40% of inmates in state and federal prisons have a history of mental illness. Nearly 15% meet criteria for acute and serious psychological distress. In county jails, the prevalence of mental illness is even higher: almost half of inmates report a history of mental illness, one in four meet criteria for serious psychological distress. The number of people with serious mental illness incarcerated in jails or prisons in the U.S. is nearly 14 times greater than the number residing in all of the state psychiatric hospitals. Jails in major cities have now become the country’s largest providers of psychiatric care.


Source: Psychology Today

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