The New ‘Asylum’: When Jails Become Mental Health Facilities

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Michael Lawrence Martinez Jr. sits behind plexiglass at the Fabian Dale Dominguez State Jail during an interview. Photo by Ana Ramirez/Victoria Advocate

State prisons and jails in the U.S. now hold 10 times more mentally ill people than psychiatric hospitals. But they get little help while they’re inside.
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One thought on “The New ‘Asylum’: When Jails Become Mental Health Facilities

  1. In Cook County (Chicago), the jail is the largest in the country holding an average of 12,000 inmates per day. Of those 12,000, Sheriff Thomas Dart says 3,000 of those individuals suffer from mental illness making the Cook County Jail the largest mental health institution in the country. Dart has done an amazing job addressing the problem, but simply can’t enact the needed changes to get these individuals treated. The state legislature refuses to fund meaningful reform. Never mind most of the mentally ill in Cook County are there for misdemeanors. They often shoplift candy bars so they can go to jail to get meds and decent treatment.

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