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Monday, October 21, 2013

The New Asylums: Jails Swell With Mentally Ill

By Gary Fields and Ericka Phillips
The Wall Street Journal
Originally published September 25, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

America's lockups are 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.

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.

The entire story is here, hiding behind a paywall.
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