An interesting and detailed article from South Carolina gives insight into the intersecting worlds of the mentally ill and the criminal justice system. In Arizona, a person suffering from mental illness is five times more likely to be behind bars than to be hospitalized. “Prisons are now the largest mental hospitals,” according to Columbia SC psychiatrist Dr. Harold Morgan.
Funding programs for the mentally ill has not been a politically popular choice, especially with an economy that is sluggish at best. With hospital beds decreasing over the past 30+ years, and families unable to grapple with the burdens, Department of Corrections personnel are the ones left to treat the sufferer, but now as an inmate.
Once a prisoner with mental illness is released, they are often just left alone, with predictable consequences. Despair, homelessness, poverty.
There are options for those suffering from mental illness, who are charged with a crime. The options are there, but they are very hard to find. You need an attorney on your side who is experienced with these matters.
Original Article in the Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina)