“Mentally ill persons increasingly receive care provided by correctional agencies. In 1959, nearly 559,000 mentally ill patients were housed in state mental hospitals (Lamb, 1998). A shift to "deinstitutionalize" mentally ill persons had, by the late 1990s, dropped the number of persons housed in public psychiatric hospitals to approximately 70,000 (CorrectCare, 1999). As a result, mentally ill persons are more likely to live in local communities. Some come into contact with the criminal justice system.
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There has been an increased interest in the judicial system among advocates for people living with mental illness:
Last month I participated in a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) with local law enforcement. These officers, dispatchers, and prison guards were learning how to improve their interactions with people who have mental illness.
It is a week-long training put on by our region’s mental health center. Counselors talk with participants about mental illness and a troupe of actors even come in to role play. Different situations are presented by the actors and the CIT participants have to interact with them.