Mental Illness in American Prisons

There is a wide spread epidemic in our already shaky industrial prison system. Citizens who suffer with mental illness are more likely to end up incarcerated as opposed to being helped in a mental health facility. Unfortunately, this topic hits home for me. A few years ago my sister was diagnosed as bipolar/manic depressive disorder. Her high school senior year had its ups and downs and once she got diagnosed we expected for everything to get better. That was three years ago. My sister has been in and out of mental hospitals. The doctors pass her around between facilities and to this day she isn’t sure which medicines benefit her. She has a history of a violent temper and two weeks ago ended up assaulting my younger brother. In an effort to reel her in, I threatened to call the police. My mother told me not to and she handled the situation on her own. I read this article and couldn’t help but think of what my sister would’ve ended up as had the police actually shown up. Would she be among the 356,268 inmates who suffer with mental illness who are not getting the help that they need? There are mental health facilities in every state of the United States. Out of those states, 44 of them hold more mentally ill patients as opposed to the actual mental health facilities in their state according to Madison Street Capital. This misappropriation in numbers has led to America accounting for more than 25% of the world’s prison population. The American prison system needs an immediate overhaul. Non-violent mentally ill prisoners deserve a chance at mental health and freedom, not solitary confinement and a jail cell.