Sunday, April 30, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be...Criminally Responsible

[Posted by ClinkShrink]

At a time when people are increasingly concerned about the criminalization of the mentally ill, when 1 in 10 prisoners in the United States are being treated with psychotropic medications, we have now come full circle. If jails and prisons are the new psychiatric hospitals, then psychiatric hospitals are becoming the new prisons. Presently thousands of sex offenders are committed to state psychiatric facilities under sexual predator acts. The state of New York is proposing a $130 million budget specifically to build a psychiatric facility for sex offender confinement. Minnesota's confined sex offender population has doubled in the past five years, and the current proposed budget includes $50 million dollars for additional facilities and security enhancements to the forensic hospital there.

Meanwhile, patient advocacy organizations promote outpatient commitment and community treatment while state hospitals are being closed due to budget cuts. It looks like the only way the public mental health system can stay in business is to treat criminals.

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