HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jailing the Mentally Ill

Last Sunday, October 31st, the New York Times ran a piece that discussed in detail the plight of the mentally ill in our prison system.   

"Forty years ago, America's seriously mentally ill were housed in psychiatric hospitals that kept them too long and often without good cause. As those hospitals closed, a promise to provide care in communities went unfulfilled. At the same time, America's prison capacity grew; it has quadrupled since 1980. People with untreated mental illness are often poor and homeless. Many commit petty crimes, creating arrest records that often lead to harsh sentences. Today some 250,000 Americans with mental illness live in prisons, the nation's primary supplier of mental-health services."

The article is a sober reminder of need to reform our justice system so that we can better address the needs of the mentally ill community.  If you missed, it is worth a read.

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