This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

When Jails Become The Mental Asylums

Tyler Durden's picture





 

"In every city and state I have visited, the jails have become the de facto mental institutions," warns the president of the American Jail Association as the WSJ notes, America's lockups have become its new asylums. After scores of state mental institutions were closed beginning in the 1970s, few alternatives materialized. Many of the afflicted wound up on the streets, where, untreated, they became more vulnerable to joblessness, drug abuse and crime. Stunningly, the number of mentally ill prisoners the country's three biggest jail systems - Cook County, IL; Los Angeles County; and New York City - handle daily is equal to 28% of all beds in the nation's 213 state psychiatric hospitals. "We're finding sicker and sicker people all the time" who have to be treated for their mental illnesses. Prisons "can't say no to the mentally ill. They have to solve the problem."

 

Summing it up... (from @sobata416 via @TheEconomist)


 

Via WSJ,

...

 

The country's three biggest jail systems—Cook County, in Illinois; Los Angeles County; and New York City—are on the front lines. With more than 11,000 prisoners under treatment on any given day, they represent by far the largest mental-health treatment facilities in the country. By comparison, the three largest state-run mental hospitals have a combined 4,000 beds.

 

Put another way, the number of mentally ill prisoners the three facilities handle daily is equal to 28% of all beds in the nation's 213 state psychiatric hospitals, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute Inc.

 

"In every city and state I have visited, the jails have become the de facto mental institutions," says Esteban Gonzalez, president of the American Jail Association, an organization for jail employees.

...

 

To get a snapshot of how the U.S. is grappling with such an explosive societal issue, The Wall Street Journal surveyed all 50 states about issues of mental health within their prison populations. Of the 22 states that provided detailed responses, their mental-health patient ratios ranged from one in 10 inmates to one in two.

...

 

"Society was horrified to warehouse people in state hospitals, but we have no problem with warehousing them in jails and prisons," says Thomas Dart, sheriff of Cook County.

 

...

 

The days of focusing on security alone are gone for prisons, says Bruce Gage, chief of psychiatry to the Washington Department of Corrections. "We're finding sicker and sicker people all the time" who have to be treated for their mental illnesses. Prisons "can't say no to the mentally ill. They have to solve the problem."

 

Read more at The WSJ...

 


- advertisements -

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!