A national disgrace: Prisons in the United States have become warehouses for our mentally sick inmates

The overwhelming majority of women behind bars in state prisons in our country, about 67 percent, are severely mentally sick, and 22 percent of men in state prisons in the U.S. are seriously mentally sick.

They belong in secure mental and drug correctional hospitals, which we do not have anywhere near enough of these, only two in Pennsylvania.

One way a society is judged is the way in treats its prisoners.

This is not the fault of judges who must sentence them, but there has been the closure of most all long-term secure psychiatric hospitals in Pennsylvania, and also in other states.

We also have huge shortage of secure community mental health resources when they get out,such as secure group homes.

So, when these people get out of prison they are no better, and in most cases far worse. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the almost 50,000 men in state prisons have severe mental health issues, and overwhelming drug addiction issues.

Sixty-seven percent of the 3,000 women in Pennsylvania prisons are mentally sick and have drug addiction issues, too.

There are only two state hospitals in Pennsylvania and they have far less mentally sick people than in our prisons.

The long-term closure of state hospitals and the lack of community mental health resources are to blame for most of this problem.

Most all of these mental patients in prison were also drug users. This started in the 1980s when there were mandatory minimum sentences for use of illicit substances such as crack and heroin.

So, most come out with the same drug problems and mental illnesses, hence the revolving door and the threat to members of our society.

There are now almost 2.8 million men and women in prisons in America. In 1973 there were about 200,000 in prison.

Psychiatrists have said that many women in prisons are victims of abuse and trauma combined with changes in brain chemistry from drug use, and that translated to psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorders and major depressive disorders.

It is way past the time, where we in Pennsylvania and other States must build secure psychiatric/drug hospitals that could and would deal with inmate with drug addictions and mental problems.

They will be getting out some time, and if we don't care for them properly, when they get out they will again be a major threat to our society and to individuals.

These are not people who are insane, who don't know right from wrong, but they are a serious danger to themselves and to others when released.

Talk to your elected officials, and get sentencing reforms, and \tell them to build facilities to take care of those inmates who need help desperately, not more costly prisons.

We do not need more prisons to just warehouse people till they are released.

A man was recently released from a state prison in Texas, and within three months murdered his wife and three children and then shot himself. He was bi-polar and received almost no treatment while incarcerated.

What kind of people are we?


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