Using our criminal justice system as a substitute for a fully functioning mental health system doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for law enforcement officers, who often put their lives at risk when they are called upon to intervene in a mental health crisis. It doesn’t make sense for courts, which are inundated with cases involving people with mental illness. It doesn’t make sense for people who have mental health conditions, who often would benefit more from treatment and intensive supervision.
Mental Health Media Clips
Earlier this month, a coalition including the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the American Psychiatric Foundation and the National Association of Counties kicked off a national campaign to encourage local jurisdictions to collect data on the jailed mentally ill and adopt strategies to avoid incarceration.
Mentally-ill inmates at the Franklin County jail stay longer, return more frequently and often aren’t connected with the treatment they need after they leave, according to a new report.
Mentally ill inmates in prisons and jails across the United States are subjected to routine physical abuse by guards, including being doused with chemical sprays, shocked with electronic stun guns and strapped for hours to chairs or beds, according to a report by Human Rights Watch to be released on Tuesday.
The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health released a report last week recommending that South Carolina transform the way mental health and substance abuse services are provided in this state. Patients with behavioral health problems — which includes adults and children with mental health disorders, substance abuse addictions, or both — often end up in an emergency room, jail, prison or a homeless shelter. None of these settings are well equipped to meet their ongoing needs, the report shows, but patients often have nowhere else to turn because South Carolina spends significantly less than the national average on public mental health resources.
Palm Beach County Commissioners are taking notice of the amount of mentally ill people showing up in jails. Just this week the commissioners agreed to get involved with a federal program called “Stepping Up.”
Leading criminal justice and mental health organizations are joining together in supporting The Stepping Up Initiative, an unprecedented national collaboration designed to generate action in communities across the country toward a common goal: reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails.
A coalition of public servants is asking every county body throughout California to embrace their nationwide stepping-up initiative. They say it creates viable mental-health treatment programs to reduce criminal behavior and recidivism.
Some of the largest facilities housing mentally ill people in America are jails, and many of those low-level, non-violent offenders only wind up behind bars in the first place because society has nowhere else to put them.
Leaders of Miaim-Dade justice system held a media event Wednesday touting the need to treat mentally-ill offenders rather than jailing them.