Have American jails become the inferior replacement for mental hospitals?

“A new study reveals that 10 times as many people with serious mental illnesses are in jails as state hospitals”

This article by Mathew Rozsa has been published in Salon. It begins:

London’s Bedlam psychiatric hospital is infamous today for how its staff brutally abused their patients. Founded in 1247, the ornately-designed facility treated the people within its care as if they were freaks and monsters rather than human beings. For a period, the patients were even turned into a literal spectacle, with thousands of ‘normal’ people flocking to Bedlam so they could pay a token fee to gawp at patients for entertainment — or, as one supporter put it, as a reminder that they must ‘keep baser instincts in check.’

Things are arguably better for mentally ill people in 21st century America. Yet a new study by George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, and published in the medical journal BMC Health Services Research, suggests that any improvement may not be as great as we’d like to think. At present, there are 10 times as many people with mental illnesses in jails and prisons than in state psychiatric hospitals.

In other words, we’ve substituted jails for treatment facilities …”

You can read more from here.

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