How can my loved one get inpatient care?
A recent study in the journal of Psychiatric Services looked at the psychiatric and criminal histories of individuals in a large urban county jail and what psychiatric services they received while incarcerated. Their conclusion? One that is not at all surprising – a large percentage of persons with a severe mental illness receive their acute inpatient treatment in the criminal justice system rather than in the mental health system.
The study’s specifics are sadly familiar: 75% of the random sample were diagnosed as having a severe mental illness; 92% had a history of nonadherence to medications before their arrest; 95% had prior arrests.
These terrible statistics bring to mind the comments of the Bazelon Center’s Michael Allen, who recently pondered whether it was worse for a person with a severe mental illness to be in a psychiatric hospital or in prison.