More than half of all Americans that sit in jail have a mental illness. Whether it be from a personal upbringing that caused it to develop or from care that was needed but never received, somewhere along the line a mental illness arose and caused them to act out and become incarcerated. Yes, I am aware there is still a percentage of criminals without something psychologically wrong. The higher statistic of those who do could easily be decreased with the proper care and awareness.
Jailing people with mental illnesses makes them worse, not better.
Why are we ignoring them? Because we can't afford to aid people with proper mental healthcare? Mental health is such an overlooked concept in this day and age that no one seems to care to do anything about. But that needs to change, and it needs to change fast. People that don't receive care after being incarcerated have a higher chance of not getting treatment after they are released and have a higher returning rate. Their mental health conditions get worse and often leaves them with a longer sentence. Hear me out- not all criminals are inherently evil. Yes, they may have committed a crime but if there is something psychologically wrong with them, it could have been prevented with the proper treatment. Putting them behind bars sets them up to act out even further, or even worse, commit suicide.
Jail is not an institution for mental health patients.
It is a place for criminals- for the bad people in this world so that others can remain safe. There is already overcrowding in jails across the country, so why do we keep adding more inmates to them when the ones that need help could be put somewhere else and make room for criminals who actually deserve to be there? The claim that resources are low and staff is limited with the increasing capacity of prisoners is no excuse to ignore what is needed the most. The need for more occupants in this field is high in demand. That is the only way for change to happen and yes, it is a scary field but it is in my opinion one of the most crucial fields to go into. With this also comes with the need for more funding. Without funding, people can't be jobbed, and without the jobs, there is no opportunity for help to be received.
Jailing inmates with a mental illness is a punishment, not a way of treatment. These people need help. It is a cry for help that put them where they are. They are sick. They are not the worst people. Even those who do receive care, aren't receiving the best of care. Those who are determined unequipped to receive routine care could be the ones who truly need it the most. There is no reason to belittle a mental health issue because it differs between each individual. Mental illness signs are not universal. Some may be more than others but any sign of mental illness is something to take action towards. The more they go untreated, the more likelihood there is of them getting worse.
Take the stand. Make the change. Help bring awareness to one of the most crucial concepts in this world.
Don't put them behind bars.
Be the change you wish to see in this world. - Ghandi