Jails for Mental Illness | Bedlam
America's three largest jails are also its three largest psychiatric treatment facilities. In this excerpt from Bedlam, while one person with mental illness faces a long wait in jail before finding treatment, California Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Twin Towers Correctional Facility where he is shocked by the staggering number of people with mental illness housed in high-security jails.
- Until the court could find a treatment facility
that would accept Monte,
he waited in jail for four months.
Today the three biggest jails in America are also
our three largest psychiatric treatment facilities.
Across the nation, jails are being built
specifically to house the mentally ill.
- We have 1,560 mentally ill in Tower One right now.
- This is a high-security jail
that was built for high-security inmates,
and we are now housing mentally ill folks
in here, patients in here.
- These people are severely mentally ill.
They need a lot more than we can give them here,
but we do the best we can.
- The vast majority are homeless, presumably, right?
- So living out in the streets and sidewalks and shelters.
- There needs to be funded resources so that
when these folks get out,
and if they're taking their medication,
they can make it to those facilities or those programs
and get the treatment that they need.
- The state of mental illness in this country
is beyond the trite notion of crisis.
It's at a point of comedic absurdity.
We built more prisons than universities.
Our budgets for prisons are actually higher
officially than our education budgets.
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