New Bruce Norris play 'Downstate' argues that sex offenders are people, too
Chicago Tribune by Chris Jones
September 30, 2018
...“Downstate,” which is a co-production with the National Theatre in London and is blisteringly acted under the direction of Pam MacKinnon, dares to do something that even Norris has not done before: to ask an audience to gather and debate the not-so-gentle proposition that sex-offenders are people too. ...
Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in Prison
The Marshall Project by Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge and Ashley Nerbovig
July 30, 2018
Andrew Butler’s hallucinations and paranoia began last summer. When they persisted into the fall, his father agreed to have him civilly committed — involuntarily sent to the state psychiatric hospital to receive treatment. A few months into his stay at New Hampshire Hospital, Butler was transferred.
To a prison.
National advocacy groups say New Hampshire is the only place in the country where the ward for people at risk of hurting themselves or others, called a secure psychiatric unit, is located in a prison.
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Horrific deaths, brutal treatment: Mental illness in America's jails
The Virginian-Pilot by Gary Harki
August 23 (27), 2019
How America’s jails came to warehouse the people with mental illness is no secret.
Deinstitutionalization, the release of patients from large institutions, began when Thorazine started being widely used in the 1950s. The medication was the first effective antipsychotic drug, calming and sedating people with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses.
By then, the horrific conditions inside America’s mental hospitals were well-known.
“It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there are in the world,” Nellie Bly wrote in “Ten Days in a Madhouse,” her 1887 book on Blackwell's Island Asylum in New York, America’s first municipal mental hospital.
Since the start of deinstitutionalization, jail populations have increased exponentially. In 1950, American jails held about 86,500 people. By 1983 there were more than 223,500 inmates. In 2016, the last year for which data is available, the Bureau of Justice Statistics counted more than 740,700, slightly down from the peak of 785,500 in 2008.
The bureau estimates that 44 percent of jail inmates have been told by a mental health professional that they have a mental disorder. More than a quarter of the jail population – roughly 186,000 people – are believed to be in serious psychological distress.
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Article: A 'hellish world': the mental health crisis overwhelming America's prisons : Guardian by Alisa Roth
A 'hellish world': the mental health crisis overwhelming America's prisons
The Guardian March 31, 2018 by Alisa Roth
In America, jails and prisons have become the nation’s de facto mental healthcare providers – and the results are chilling ....
Across the country, correctional facilities are struggling with the reality that they have become the nation’s de facto mental healthcare providers, although they are hopelessly ill-equipped for the job. They are now contending with tens of thousands of people with mental illness who, by some counts, make up as much as half of their populations.
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Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive