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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

US and UK jails are overcrowded - inmates are mentally ill

I've just came across with this at The Lancet:
"Prison health Up to 90% of inmates in UK prisons have at least one mental-health disorder, and 10% have a serious mental-health problem, according to a report by the Prison Reform Trust. The report says that such inmates receive unsatisfactory treatment and that care rather than incarceration could help to relieve pressure on the nation’s over-crowded jails."
I've remembered this post Marissa Miller wrote with this information:
"Two thirds of prisoners nationwide with a mental illness were off treatment at the time of their arrest, according to a new study by Harvard researchers that suggests under-treatment of mental illness contributes to crime and incarceration."
It's from "Harvard study: Under-treatment of mental illness contributes to crime." and Marissa explains:

"The article is poorly titled. The headline was designed to be alarming: "Watch out for those crazy people! They're violent!" It's not "under-treatment of mental illness" that "contributes to crime" so much as it is "two-thirds of inmates with mental illness are off medication." There's nothing in the article that asserts people with mental illness contribute to the crime rate in America. An interesting read but an inaccurate head."
I'll just leave these data for the moment because I'm not able to think about it all now. I truly believe that something very strange with these numbers, diagnoses... the whole thing.
It's amazing that mental illness is associated with crimes in such a way.

4 comments:

Marissa Miller said...

Thanks for the link back! :)

Ana said...

I would not have pay too much attention if I hadn't read your post with the US data.
It's too strange that at the same week US and UK blame mental illness for prisons being overcrowded.
I've seen a documentary on US prisons that claimed that overpopulation was related among other things to people who committed not very serious crimes were on jail.
This is too weird for me.

Katharine said...

It breaks my heart. In many instances, people are essentially jailed for their illnesses, or crimes could have been avoided if people got better care... or agh all so sad. This is why I see my three main interests as all so intertwined: criminal justice reform, mental health advocacy, and drug policy reform. They are all parts of the same beast, or at least beasts with many overlaps!

Ana said...

Katharine,
This is very complex. I'm a little bit confused with these two informations.
I don't know the diagnoses these people have.
Reform is necessary. Thanks for working on this.