New York, NY—Putting seriously mentally
ill people who commit crimes behind prison bars is not only a major public
policy scandal, it also costs communities more than treating these offenders,
according to speakers at a forum on reversing the criminalization of the seriously
mentally ill at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association
(APA) here in May.
The broad and rapid release of patients from state mental hospitals
that began in the 1950s and the concomitant failure to adequately fund the
community mental health system led directly to the overpopulation of individuals
with mental illness in adult and juvenile justice systems today, said Marcia
Goin, MD, PhD, of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern
California (USC), Los Angeles, immediate past APA president.
Lamberg L. Efforts Grow to Keep Mentally Ill Out of Jails. JAMA. 2004;292(5):555-556. doi:10.1001/jama.292.5.555