State corrections authorities spend more than $8 billion a year on health care programs for prisoners, but are they cost-effective? A study by Pew Charitable Trusts says the aging of America’s prison population adds renewed urgency to monitoring—and improving—efforts to treat prisoners’ special health needs both during and after incarceration.
Efforts to close facilities like the Rikers Island jail complex in New York won’t work unless authorities find alternative ways to deal with seriously mentally ill individuals who run afoul of the justice system, says New York’s former chief judge.
States which exercised the option under Obamacare to expand Medicaid eligibility experienced a 3% decrease in the annual rate of reported crimes compared to non-expansive states, according to a University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign paper. The decline saved taxpayers an estimated $400 million annually.
A new book argues that mental health authorities’ failure to address the public safety challenge posed by individuals with serious mental illness unfairly shifts the burden to police and the courts. DJ Jaffe, the author, explains why in a conversation with The Crime Report.
A judge ordered Maryland officials to open dozens of beds at state psychiatric hospitals by the end of the year. The court said acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader had failed to follow court orders to place criminal defendants in state psychiatric hospitals. Some mentally ill defendants have languished in jails for weeks waiting for a bed at a state hospital.
More than 10,000 mentally ill people who haven’t been convicted of a crime are involuntary confined by psychiatric hospitals. They have been found not guilty by reason of insanity or have been arrested but found incompetent to stand trial. Critics say states ignore a Supreme Court ruling that such patients must be both mentally ill and dangerous to be hospitalized against their will.
Police around the country are learning how to step back from confrontations that can lead to tragedy. But additional reforms are needed to help divert individuals with serious and untreated mental illness from the justice system.
The shift of many inmates from state prisons to county jails in California raises questions about whether the local facilities can deal with inmates suffering mental illness. One prisoner with schizophrenia was shackled to a chair for 46 hours before he died.