Report: More People With Serious Mental Illnesses Behind Bars Than In State Hospitals

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (4/9, Moroney) reports, “Ten times as many people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other acute forms of brain disease reside in prisons and county jails than in state hospitals, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center [TAC].”

The MSNBC (4/9, Clark) website reports that the TAC report, which was released yesterday, “found that state prisons and county jails house approximately 356,268 people with mental illnesses, while state mental hospitals hold only 35,000.” What’s more, this disparity is “a nationwide problem – only six states have psychiatric hospitals with more people in them than” in “prisons or jail.”

Psychiatric News (4/9), a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, reported, “The report also contains several recommendations, including use of court-ordered outpatient treatment – deemed by the Department of Justice to be an evidence-based practice for reducing crime and violence – to help at-risk individuals live more safely and successfully in the community.” TAC founder and psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, MD, who is the report’s lead author, said, “The lack of treatment for seriously ill inmates is inhumane and should not be allowed in a civilized society.” The Kaiser Health News (4/8, Gold) “Capsules” blog also covers the story.

Related Links:

— “America’s Mentally Ill Prisoners Outnumber Hospital Patients, Tenfold,”Tom Moroney, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, April 8, 2014.

Posted in In The News.