Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trouble in the Heartland

Badlands you gotta live it every day

Let the broken hearts stand

As the price you've gotta pay

Keep pushin' till it's understood

And these badlands start treating us good

--Bruce Springsteen

Thinking of the issue of mental illness in jail and the images of New York, Los Angels, Houston, or Chicago prisons may quickly come to mind. The issue, however, isn’t contained to big cities.

Consider this headline, “Little help for mentally ill inmates.” It comes not from the New York or Los Angeles Times but from the Argus Leader in South Dakota.

“More than half of the nation's inmates report symptoms of mental illness, but in South Dakota, far fewer are being treated,” report the paper. “Advocates say those inmates deserve better care. Without treatment, they are vulnerable to abuse behind bars and struggle in the community after release, often leading to return trips to jail.”

Sounds very much like this blog earlier this week examining the prison in Houston.

From the Badlands to the city, the issue remains the same.