Mental Illness Requires Treatment, Not Incarceration

California State Correctional facilities are over capacity with inmates, many of whom would benefit from treatment as opposed to incarceration. Their crimes are typically associated with chronic mental illness, which, left untreated, means these individuals will continue to spin through the revolving door of jailing the mentally ill.

The State of California reports that 45 percent of its state inmate population suffers from mental illness, and inmates with mental illness tend to receive longer sentences than their counterparts. This equates to higher costs to taxpayers for incarceration.

At one time in our history, the states were afforded institutions specifically for the mentally ill population, but after the passage of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act in 1967, local communities were tasked with providing the services necessary for the treatment of newly released persons who would have been housed in state mental health facilities.

Unfortunately, there was an appalling lack of services at the local level, and communities soon began to see their jails swell with the population that no longer had treatment options. This gap in supportive services for treatment of the mentally ill continues at a great cost to families and communities and their fiscal responsibilities.


I don’t think they would have good mental health services in jail. And if someone says they have a mental illness, they are put in a different area like isolated from everyone to protect them, but not always. I watched a documentary about this.

If someone commits a crime as a direct result of their mental illness then they should get treatment outside of prison but if they’re just a criminal with a mental illness then prison is where they deserve to be.

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