This morning on Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane talked with Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center; Bruce Herdman, chief medical director the Philadelphia Department of Prisons; and John Wetzel, Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections.
Mental Health Media Clips
The commonwealth is embarking on a long-term plan to reduce the numbers of mentally ill inmates in county prisons.
The hope is to reduce the number of mentally ill people in Pennsylvania prisons without compromising public safety.
“This process is really the brightest glimmer of hope I’ve seen, where it actually appears that we have a shot at coming up with some way to finally have an impact on this population,” said Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.
Each year an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illness are admitted into county jails and prisons in the United States, according to Richard Cho, Council of State Governments Justice Center director of behavioral health.
Smart Talk will discuss the Stepping Up initiative with Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, Richard Cho, Director of Behavioral Health at the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Brinda Carroll Penyak, Deputy Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
The report, “Healthy and Safe Riverside County: Investing in What Works,” encourages the county to focus more on mental health, homeless outreach and other services and less on adding jail beds.
It is not their fault, or the prison’s; society has chosen prisons to be the places that manage these problems, and prisons aren’t the right place for them.
A three-year health study of nine city neighborhoods found large disparities among racial and ethnic groups in areas including physical and mental health, food insecurity and encounters with the criminal-justice system.
Whether you’re a fiscal conservative or bleeding-heart liberal, you shouldn’t want jails and prisons to serve as a substitute for mental health facilities.