After Closing Psychiatric Hospital, Michigan Incarcerates Mentally Ill
See this column by that title from the Detroit Free Press. Excerpts:
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon spoke for most sheriffs when he said, during a community meeting earlier this year, that his jail had become his county's largest mental health care institution.
Over the last two decades, changes in state policy and big cuts in funding for community mental health care have pushed hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people into county jails and state prisons.
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The annual budget for the nonprofit Detroit Central City Community Mental Health one of Detroit's largest community mental health agencies, plunged from $11.2 million in 2008 to $8million. President and CEO Irva Faber-Bermudez said the cuts have forced her agency to close an urgent care clinic and end an effective transitional housing program. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature should reconsider these cuts if they really want to improve mental health care and remove mentally ill people from prisons and jails.
Treating one client in a community program costs about $10,000 a year, compared with $35,000 a year to house one prisoner. Detroit Central City's jail diversion and prisoner re-entry programs report recidivism rates of less than 10% -- at least four times lower than the overall state average.