American Samizdat

Sunday, June 24, 2007. *
In 1955, 560,000 people in the United States were being treated for mental health problems in state hospitals. Adjusting for population increase, we would expect there to be about 930,000 individuals being treated in state hospitals today. This is not the case. Fewer than 55,000 people are being treated in such facilities.

Where then are the hundreds of thousands of people with mental health issues? Most are imprisoned by, or otherwise caught up in, the legal system. Between 170,000 and 300,000 mentally ill individuals suffer today in jails and prisons. Another 500,000 are on court-ordered probation.

Since 1960, more than 90 percent of state psychiatric hospital beds have been eliminated. Mental health professionals and sociologists call this "deinstitutionalization." As a result of this phenomenon, many mentally ill patients who need hospital care are in prison instead.
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:56 AM
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