Number of the Day

[Content Note: Disablism; carcerality.]

356,368: The number of people with severe mental illness who were imprisoned in the US in 2012. (And, personally, I'm guessing that number is an underestimate.)
The state of mental health services in this country is unacceptable. Instead of social workers, we have armed law enforcement officers. Instead of treatment facilities, we have prisons and jails. More than half of the people behind bars have shown recent symptoms of mental health problems. The Cook County Jail in Chicago is now the biggest single-facility provider of mental health services in the country. Nearly $9 billion per year is spent locking up people struggling with mental illness.

...[F]or decades, this county has been shoving social problems like mental illness and drug addiction into a criminal justice system ill equipped to solve them. This mass criminalization has led to way too many people behind bars, often for too long and for reasons that have no business being crimes in the first place. Communities of color have been hardest hit.

But it doesn't have to be this way. America can safely reduce our reliance on incarceration – several states have reduced their prison populations while crime rates have dropped.
Sign this petition urging Congress to to pass H.R. 4574, the Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act, and provide treatment for people with mental illness instead of incarcerating them and leaving them with criminal records that limits their opportunities. Mental illness is not a crime.

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