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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)

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