One, this sounds like a very interesting book to pick up. Two, this interview with the author, Alisa Roth, is enlightening in many ways.
“In her new book Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, Roth investigates the widespread incarceration of the mentally ill in the U.S., and what she sees as impossible burdens placed on correctional officers to act as mental health providers when they’re not adequately trained.”
She mentions a few stories, and a few facts, like jails in Los Angeles, NYC, and Chicago are the three largest institutions providing mental health care in the US, but it’s the reminder that people struggling with mental health problems often spend a lot of time in and out of the justice system, and being ignored by society because of that, as opposed to being helped and supported as fellow human beings that really brings this subject home.
Sadly, we tend to look at jail as a place to “punish” bad people, who cease to be human in our eyes once they are there, no matter the circumstances, which often involve a lack of proper mental healthcare that might help them to avoid having been there in the first place.