The Criminalization of Mental Illness:
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The Criminalization of Mental Illness: Crisis & Opportunity for the Justice System. Risdon N. Slate, Ph.D. Professor of Criminology Florida Southern College. Prevalence of Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System.

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The Criminalization of Mental Illness: Crisis & Opportunity for the Justice System

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Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

The Criminalization of Mental Illness: Crisis & Opportunity for the Justice System

Risdon N. Slate, Ph.D.

Professor of Criminology

Florida Southern College


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

Prevalence of Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System

  • Jails and prisons in the U.S. hold three times more persons with mental illness than do psychiatric hospitals in America (Human Rights Watch Report, 2003).

  • Jails comprise the 3 largest inpatient psychiatric facilities in the country.

  • Estimates are that around 16 percent of jail and prison populations in the U.S. are comprised of persons with mental illness (Ditton, 1999). (Compare to James & Glaze, 2006 BJS/DOJ study).


Deinstitutionalization

Deinstitutionalization


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

  • “Mental illness is not a choice. It is a medical disease.” (Greenberg, 2001, p. 43).


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

The Sequential Intercept Model viewed as a series of filters

Source: Munetz, Mark and Griffin, Patricia. “Use of the Sequential Intercept Model as an Approach to Decriminalization of People With Serious Mental Illness.” (2006) Psychiatric Services 57:544-549.


Criminal justice system responses

Criminal Justice System Responses

  • Law Enforcement (CIT, CSOs and Mobile Crisis)

  • Mental Health Courts

  • Discharge Planning: Diversion & Re-entry


The true solution lies in more and better mental health services

The True Solution Lies In More And Better Mental Health Services

  • Evidence based practices, including:

    • Assertive Community Treatment (aka FACT)

    • Integrated mental health/substance abuse treatment.

    • Supported Employment

    • Supportive Housing

  • Peer services and supports

  • Acute care beds and/or crisis stabilization services


Does diversion work

Does Diversion Work?

  • Does It Save Money?

  • Does it Reduce Crime?

  • Does it Help the People Intended to Benefit?


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

As noted by Kathryn Power of SAMHSA, Lord Kelvin, a Scottish Mathematician of the 1800s, once said:

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, then you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.”


2007 rand study

2007 RAND STUDY

Allegheny County, PA

Total Cost Savings of

$9,584.00

per participant

for a

½ Million Dollar Savings

Over 2 Years


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

Cost Savings


Prevalence of mental illness in the criminal justice system

California’s AB 2034 Program


Crises often drive policy in the justice system

Crises Often Drive Policy In The Justice System

  • Crisis Intervention Training – Memphis PD

  • Eugene Gregory & Alan Singletary

  • Aaron Wynn

  • Brad H.

  • Andrew Goldstein

  • Seung-Hui Cho

  • Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (Parity)


Crisis in mandarin chinese

Crisis in Mandarin Chinese:


Hippocrates

Hippocrates

  • “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.”


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