Friday, September 16, 2005

Jailed instead of treated

It is true across the country – as hospitals close, people who are extremely ill are ending up in a different institution – prison.
“… we are fully aware that we are going to become the mental health institute of first resort rather than last resort,” Jeff Blum, mental health coordinator of the Davidson County [Tennessee] Sheriff’s Office, said.
You read that correctly - the SHERIFF will become the county's main mental health provider. If only this were unusual. In fact, it has become the norm.

Being incarcerated is particularly hard on people with untreated brain diseases. It is not a policy answer to send people to prison for having a brain disease.

Yet some actually prefer incarceration to living on the streets. (Going from the streets to jail, then back again.)

What is wrong with this picture? Aren't there any options between prison and homelessness?

They have one suggestion in Miami.