A recent audit of Wisconsin's inmate population identified 31% of prisoners as having some form of mental illness. The Women of Block 12 are no exception. They talk openly about their depression and anxiety or family history of mental illness. Some are aware of more serious diagnoses such as bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Many medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol believing they are just plain losers.
The issue of undiagnosed, untreated, mental illness is a major problem for our nation's prisons and jails. Punishment of the mentally ill is inhumane and archaic. We need a more effective system of care that prevents incarceration. Communities across the country are exploring treatment alternatives that are proving to be more effective and less expensive.
In a June 26th article from the Albany Times Union, writer Paul Grondal, discusses one program for dealing with mentally ill individuals who would otherwise go to jail.
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