Mental illness and incarceration


From: Mark Jacobson
Certified peer specialist

We have created conditions that make criminal behavior all but inevitable for our brothers and sisters who are mentally ill. Instead of treating them, we are imprisoning them, and then, when they have completed their sentences, we release them with minimal or no support system in place, just counting the days until they are behind bars once again. This practice of seeking to save money on the backs of this population comes with high moral and fiscal cost. It is ineffective because we spend far more on imprisonment of the mentally ill than we would otherwise spend on treatment and support. It is immoral because writing off another human being’s life is utterly contrary to our collective values and principles.


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