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Word Count: 455
Mentally ill in jail The articles inform that more mentally ill people are in jail than in hospitals According to statistics 159000 of mentally ill are presently incarcerated in jails and prisons mostly of crimes committed because they were not being treated Some of them become violent and may terrorize their families and neighborhoods Tragically most of those instances of incarceration are unnecessary We know what to do but for economic legal and ideological reasons we fail to do it The deinstitutionalisation of the severely mentally ill in the 60ties qualifies a as one of the largest social experiments in American history In 1995 there were 558239 severely mentally ill patients in the nations public psychiatric hospitals In 1995 the number has been reduced to 71619 The deinstitutionalization created an mental illness crisis by discharging people from hospitals without ensuring that they receive medication and rehabilitation services in the community Consequently 22million severely mentally ill do not receive any psychiatric treatment Mental patients were released from psychiatric hospital in the belief that permitting them to live in a freer environment was more humane and would improve their well-being Instead they turned up in prisons where they are virtually devoid of dignity and lack adequate treatment and understanding Besides even if they take medications and might get better in jail there is no guarantee that they will continue with the treatment after they are released into the communities And so the vicious circle goes on The solution to the problem is to provide sufficient funding to the community-based mental health system so people could be helped before they become part of the prison system Services like medication therapy and monitoring residential services rehabilitation services and support services are successful in bringing the severely mentally ill back to communities As a rule community services are also less expensive Instead we see mental health agencies being closed and stripped of their
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