Sunday, April 5, 2009

Charlie, Come on Down and Meet Our Mentally Unstable Inmates

By Kyle Munzenrieder in PoliticksWednesday, Feb. 11 2009 @ 11:51AM

When so many Americans have trouble seeing a doctor for the common cold, getting proper mental health care seems like a luxury. Unsurprisingly, many people who most need mental health help wind up in the corrections system.

The Miami-Dade delegation in the state legislature recently invited Gov. Charlie Crist and other top officials to tour the county's pre-trial detention system. From the press release:

"The Miami-Dade County Jail is the largest de facto psychiatric facility in Florida. On any given day, approximately 1,200 defendants in the Miami-Dade Jail receive psychotropic medication. This represents almost 20% of the total inmate population and costs local taxpayers over $50 million dollars annually. People with mental illnesses remain incarcerated 8 times longer than people without mental illnesses for the exact same charges, at a cost 7 times higher. Many of these individuals have recycled through jails, state forensic hospitals, and the prison system for the majority of their adult lives."

This is a serious problem, and we hope Governor Crist accepts the invitation. Someone tell him it will be exactly like that show Oz. That might pique his interest.

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