Fact: Los Angeles County recently approved a $2 billion project for a new 4,860 bed county jail to be built by a private contractor.
Fact: 3,260 of the beds – 67 percent – are intended for those suffering from mental illnesses.
Fact: About 75% of inmates with mental illnesses are re-incarcerated into L.A. county jails – almost four times the rate of comparable cities, like Miami, which has a recidivism rate among the mentally ill of 20%.
Fact: In L.A. county, it costs $20,412/year to support a person with mental illness in a housing program.
Fact: In L.A. county, it costs about $60,000/year to incarcerate a person with mental illness.
Source: L.A. County Jail Plan is a $2 Billion Blunder That Embraces Incarceration, Not Treatment, for Mentally Ill, LA Weekly.
Fact: There are approximately 10 times as many people with severe mental illness in prisons than there are in state psychiatric hospitals.
Fact: Approximately 15% of the prison population is estimated to suffer from severe mental illness, according to the Department of Justice.
Fact: In addition to the increased number of prisoners with mental illnesses, the severity of the illnesses is also rising.
Source: The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey, The Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriff’s Association
Fact: Both publicly and in court filings, the Bureau of Prisons insists that mental illness is treatable and curable, like a cold or infection, rather than a permanent condition.
Fact: No other prison system is known to use this concept. No others in the corrections or psychology field takes this view.
Source: The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Abuses of Solitary Confinement, Washington Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights and Urban Affairs