On average, a seriously mentally ill person in the USA is three times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, a report concludes today.
In no state was a seriously mentally ill person — someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for example — less likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, the report by the National Sheriffs' Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center found.
But there were wide variations among states. In North Dakota, a seriously mentally ill person was equally likely to be hospitalized as incarcerated. But in Nevada and Arizona, such a person was nearly 10 times more likely to be jailed than hospitalized.
In Idaho, the odds are 4.6 to 1 that a mentally ill person would be incarcerated instead of being hospitalized.
The bottom five states in mental health spending are Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas, Idaho, and Oklahoma. I am tempted to ask if things can get worse in the criminal justice system, but of course the answer is yes. Idaho continues to add new inmates while cutting the budget. Fewer options for treatment, more inmates with mental health issues is not a formula for future success.
Here is a link to the report.