Do You Know Someone Behind Bars and Not Receiving Treatment?
(June 13, 2013) We can all agree that individuals with serious mental illnesses do not belong in jails or prisons. The reality, however, is that many such individuals are in jails and prisons as a result of the increasingly failed mental illness treatment system.
Making the problem even worse, there appears to be considerable confusion among families, and even among some jail and prison officials, regarding the legal circumstances under which individuals with serious mental illness can be involuntarily treated in jails and prisons when they are psychotic and unaware of their own illness.
For this reason, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey and the Treatment Advocacy Center are undertaking a state-by-state survey of laws and practices for treating jail inmates who refuse treatment for a severe and persistent mental illness. When it is complete later this year, the survey will be permanently posted on our website and be accessible to everyone, along with the other state-related information we already provide.
As part of the survey, we are reaching out to NAMI leaders across the country and any family member with a story about the experiences of individuals with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or severe depression with psychotic features) who should have been treated involuntarily while they were in jail or prison but, for whatever reason, did not receive treatment. We are interested in collecting examples of both bad outcomes when involuntary treatment was not provided and good outcomes when it was provided.
If so, we would like to hear about that treatment situation. In our report, we will not identify the individuals or the jail/prison by name, only by state, except in cases in which the information is already public.
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