Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Loughner Case Exposes Deficiencies, Says Mental Health Advocate

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that reminds us that while most mentally ill people are not violent, we do have some who are walking time bombs.

These tragedies are the inevitable outcome of five decades of failed mental-health policies. During the 1960s, we began to empty the state mental hospitals but failed to put in place programs to ensure that the released patients received treatment after they left. By the 1980s, the results were evident—increasing numbers of seriously mentally ill persons among the homeless population and in the nation's jails and prisons.

Over the past three decades, things have only gotten worse. A 2007 study by the U.S. Justice Department found that 56% of state prisoners, 45% of federal prisoners, and 64% of local jail inmates suffer from mental illnesses....

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