A recent report jointly issued by The Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association brings alarming news. There are now more mentally ill in prison than in psychiatric hospitals. We are back to the 1840s. Dorothea Dix, that greatest psychiatric reformer in American history, is spinning in her grave. Some details:
- There are 3 times more mentally ill persons in jail than in hospital
- 16% of prison inmates have a serious mental illness
- 40% of people with mental illness have been in jail at some time
- In 1955, there was 1 psychiatric bed for every 300 Americans. In 2005: 1 for 3,000.
To overcome this travesty, the report proposes a) assisted outpatient treatment, b) mental health courts, surveys of the states, the linking of Federal block grants to better outcomes, and abolishing hte “institutions for mental disease” (IMD) Medicaid restriction. See the report here: More Mentally Ill Persons Are In Jails and Prisons Than Hospitals–A Survey of the States. See all of PsychOdyssey’s posted reports here.