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“Pa. Department of Corrections names new mental health advocate for offenders”

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This May 21, 2015 article on The Patriot-News talks about the experience that Lynn Patrone brings with her as she takes on the role of mental health advocate ensuring that inmates get proper mental health care while they are incarcerated and upon release.

“United States: Force Against Prisoners With Mental Illness”

English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Лого...

English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Логотип Хьюман Райтс Вотч (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This May 12, 2015 article on the Human Rights Watch website talks about the abuse of power often used in handling mentally ill inmate that leads to injuries and even death because of what amounts to minor infractions of the rules or orders given to them.  One example in the article is about a woman who was not given her medication while she was incarcerated and at one point refused to change her jumpsuit and ended up being tasered multiple times within a matter of a few short minutes.

“Christmas Behind Bars”

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This December 23, 2014, The Atlantic, article talks about how inmates at Maine State Prison celebrate Christmas despite rules that say they can’t give gifts.

“Jails Are the Biggest Asylums in the Nation Says Rep. Patrick Kennedy at Health Forum”

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This November 18, 2014 OpEdNews.com article talks about the ever-increasing number of people with mental illnesses who are ending up in jails or prisons due in large part to the lack of available mental health services available to them in the community.  As a result, many with mental illnesses who are often convicted of non-violent crimes end up trapped in a revolving door going in and out of jails sometimes even begging to be kept in jail because they get better treatment in jails then they do in the community.  If those who are being released from jail that have a mental illness, are lucky they will be able to find some place to live other than the streets, but this is often not the case.

A reminder that history repeats itself if let it

eBook Link (free to download and read)

This eBook titled “A Plea for the Insane in the Prisons and Poor-houses of Pennsylvania” By Pennsylvania. State Board of Public Welfare, was published in 1873 and has documents  about the arguments being made at that time to move people with mental illnesses out of prisons and poor houses and into state hospitals.  I haven’t finished reading it yet, but what I have read could easily be seen in today’s media as we debate over how people with mental illnesses should be treated.  At the time this book was written, state hospitals were the solution that society had come up with, but over time society decided that state hospitals were not the answer, but community based treatment was the answer.  So community based became the target treatment option, but society opted not to properly fund it or expand it so that the community based services could meet the demand.  So now society is sitting back scratching their heads completely baffled that people with mental illnesses would be ending up warehoused in jails and prisons.  There is now a trend that seems to show to me that the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of state hospitals as the answer to the problem.   I have to ask why we as a society are repeatedly making the same decisions and consistently expecting a different outcome?  I feel that state hospitals and prisons are opposite extremes when it comes to solutions, and that while both serve a purpose, neither is an adequate solution.  The bills I’m seeing proposed seem to focus on the needs and desires of the families of the mentally ill and neglect to acknowledge that the person with the illness is the one who is getting bounced around by society’s whims.  Yes, families are affected, but I also know that forced treatment is a short-term solution to a crisis …. it is NOT a long-term solution.  Assisted Outpatient Treatment is a politically correct way of candy coating forced or coerced treatment.  I strongly suggest that people look over the history of the decisions made by society before jumping on board with any of the bills being proposed.  History can teach us valuable lessons if we listen.

This book is also available in printed paperback  from Amazon by clicking this link “A Plea for the Insane in the Prisons and Poor-Houses”  (costs about $16 for the printed version at

Location map of Pennsylvania, USA

Location map of Pennsylvania, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the time of this post)

“Cook County Sheriff Rips Mental Health Cuts: ‘We Have Criminalized Mental Illness In This Country’”

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This March 26, 2014 ThinkProgress article focuses on the issues of lacking mental health care in Cook County Illinois, and describes how that jail there has become one of the largest defacto mental health treatment facilities in the country, because of how funding for community based mental health care has been repeatedly cut and basically ravaged over the years.  PA Representative Tim Murphy’s proposed mental health reform bill was mentioned in the article as well.

“Prison fails mentally ill women”

http://www.correctionsone.com/correctional-healthcare/articles/3422190-Professors-Prison-fails-mentally-ill-women/
I found this article on a site called CorrectionsOne.com it discusses some statistics regarding female inmates who happen to be mentally ill, in addition to some other issues they face.

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